Terry denies handball claim as Chelsea savour vital win

Cech happy for club to pick up points 'without playing beautiful football'

By Sam Wallace
Sunday 23 October 2011 02:57

John Terry has rejected Owen Coyle's claim that the Chelsea captain handled the ball in his own penalty area during the Premier League leader's crucial 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night.

The Bolton manager was heavily critical of referee Lee Probert for turning down appeals against Terry and Didier Drogba for handballs in the Chelsea area. Yesterday Terry still denied that he had blocked Chung-yong Lee's cross in the 62nd minute with his hand. He said: "I don't know what it looked like on TV but it certainly felt like it came off my chest.

"Over 40-odd games you are going get some penalties and you are not going to get others," Terry added. "Later on the ball hit Zat Knight's hand as well so we could have had one and maybe they could have had one as well, but over the course of the season you get your rewards."

Terry clashed on a few occasions with Bolton's loan signing from Arsenal, Jack Wilshere, but admitted that the 18-year-old had been a threat as Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points. "They caused us problems all night but we stuck in there and we ground it out," Terry said. "With us not winning the Premier League for three years nerves took their toll late on but we managed to hold on."

It was by no means a classic from the recent past at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea's victory over Bolton fulfilled the criteria for a gritty, hard-won, end-of-season game.

For Petr Cech it marked the 100th clean sheet in his six years at the club and a match which he said he hoped would be a turning point in the season.

Chelsea go to White Hart Lane on Saturday in the driving seat in this season's title race, although the memories of how it fell apart for them the last time they were challenging in a similar position are still strong, Cech said. That was in April 2008 when a late equaliser by Emile Heskey for Wigan at Stamford Bridge meant that Chelsea lost crucial ground on Manchester United.

Cech said: "In that Wigan game they had a chance three minutes before the end but we tried to restore the balance in the team and then in added time we got caught. We have definitely learned from that experience because we were in the same position in this match [against Bolton] when we knew that every goal at this time of the season can be crucial and we defended well.

"You can't win the Premier League by playing only brilliant football. If there is a game when you have defend, defend, defend and win only 1-0 then you need to do it. If you have to play in a different way and to get the three points you have to do it.

"I have always managed to keep my percentage of clean sheets over 50 per cent here. When I came here I wanted to make my name and in such a special club and in the best league in the world. We have won things and I have enjoyed my time at Chelsea and that is a milestone I am very proud of."

Chelsea lost to Spurs in their last visit to White Hart Lane in March last year when Aaron Lennon was in his best form and Luka Modric scored the winner.

"This time we hope it will be different," Cech added. "They are chasing fourth place and we chase the title so it will be different."

Safest hands: Clean sheet league

Player/Played/Clean Sheets

1. David James 569/170

2. Mark Schwarzer 403/117

3. Edwin van der Sar 276/116

4. Brad Freidel 356/109

5. Shay Given 389/106

6. Petr Cech 180/100

Premier League, excluding last night's games

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