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Premier League

Swansea 0 Chelsea 1: Demba Ba praised by coach Steve Holland as striker lands second match-winner in a week

Holland says Ba deserves his praise for handing Chelsea to crucial wins in the last five days

Chelsea assistant coach Steve Holland has hailed Demba Ba after his goals kept Chelsea on course for European and domestic silverware.

Ba followed up a clinching strike that booked Chelsea's Champions League semi-final place at the expense of Paris St Germain by hitting the winner against 10-man Swansea.

His second-half goal edged Chelsea to a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium as they stayed two points behind leaders Liverpool with four games left - including a potential title-deciding clash at Anfield later this month.

"He deserves that," said Holland, who attended Chelsea's post-match press conference in south Wales instead of manager Jose Mourinho.

"He's always working in training afterwards on his own. He wants to do different types of finishing, and he deserves to have had the week he's had with two very important goals. All credit to him."


Swansea had Chico Flores sent off after 17 minutes by referee Phil Dowd following two quickfire yellow cards, although Dowd took a considerable amount of time before he decided to brandish a second yellow after Flores fouled Andre Schurrle.

"The two yellow card decisions were crystal clear, the referee was quite clearly correct on both counts," Holland added.

"As to who he speaks to and how long he takes over the decision, you would have to ask him how that works. For sure, ultimately he made the right decision.

"It (Swansea away) has always been a difficult fixture for us.

"They are a team that is very much based around keeping possession of the ball, and they can frustrate you for long periods because it is difficult to build pressure up against them.

"On the back of a Champions League game in midweek, which is emotionally, physically and mentally draining, you always worry about the impact that has on your next fixture.

"It is a fantastic three points for us, and very much a case of getting over the line, really."

Swansea head coach Garry Monk, whose team remain in relegation danger just three points above 18th-placed Fulham, was left infuriated by Flores' early exit.

"If you go by the letter of the law it is a sending off, but if you do letter of the law every single game then you will get six or seven sendings off a game," Monk said.

"The disappointing thing was that he (referee Phil Dowd) looked like he signalled straight away 'no' - as if to signal it didn't warrant another yellow.

"Then their bench and manager surrounds the fourth official and their players surround the referee and then the red card comes later on.

"It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

"But I know Phil, and he is an honest guy. I don't think he responded to the pressure. If he says it was him giving himself time, then it is him giving himself time. But the circumstances make it strange."