Toure: We’ll keep pushing United

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett believes his side could still get

back in the frame for the Championship play-offs.

The Lions have slipped down the table since the turn of the year

but picked up their first league win since January 1 when they

defeated Middlesbrough 2-1 on Saturday evening.

A second victory over Boro this season lifted the Lions back up

to 13th, eight points adrift of the top six.

“After the defeats we’ve had in the league it was a very good

win for us and excellent to get a double over a team like

Middlesbrough,” said Jackett.

“There are a lot of games to come and anything is possible. The

spirit we had was good and we will be looking to move on from the

victory in a positive way now.

“We will need a real good run like we had earlier in the season

to get up there, but we will see what happens.”

Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City has left Blues’ interim boss

Rafael Benitez facing a scrap to secure a top-four berth, with

Tottenham and Arsenal both capable of nudging Chelsea out.

Yet their hopes of silverware rest on the FA Cup and Europa

League.

Benitez has already spoken about the tough run of matches his

side have been facing, which has already involved a bit of juggling

as their FA Cup fourth round replay with Brentford needed to be

played on fifth-round weekend.

As the FA have ordered all quarter-final matches to take place

on the planned weekend, it means the Middlesbrough tie must be

decided in time for the winners to take on Manchester United at Old

Trafford on March 10.

As Chelsea face a trip to Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League

on March 7, the only available date for any replay with

Middlesbrough is next Monday, March 4, just two days after a

Premier League encounter with West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

Clearly, such a congested schedule would have a negative on

Chelsea’s trophy hopes, and probably would not do much for their

Premier League aspirations either.

Yet even if they manage to get past Middlesbrough this week

without the need for a second game, there is still the possibility

for a fixture pile up later on.

With no midweek dates available for teams involved in European

competition prior to the FA Cup semi-final weekend of April 13 and

14, the FA are investigating the potential for playing a

quarter-final replay involving Manchester United or Chelsea –

should one be required – on a weekend, only three of which are

available.

In all probability, March 16 or 17 would be ruled out because of

policing and ticketing issues, whilst March 31 follows immediately

after the international break.

That would leave April 6, which for Chelsea would mean the

postponement of a home game with Sunderland.

Of more significance, it would mean the Manchester derby,

currently pencilled in for Old Trafford on Monday, April 8 but set

to be moved to April 6 if United make it past Real Madrid to reach

the Champions League quarter-finals, being re-arranged.

Although somewhat complicated, such a scenario might actually

appeal to Sir Alex Ferguson as, if United are still in the

Champions League, they would go into the Manchester City encounter

at a significant disadvantage given Roberto Mancini has a

completely free week to prepare for a game that, in all

probability, his side have to win if they are to retain their

title.

The champions’ hopes of retaining their Premier League crown

look slim despite an impressive 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday.

Toure opened the scoring with a neat finish just after the hour,

following a rare missed penalty from Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, and

Carlos Tevez made sure of victory late on with a long-range

strike.

It was a spirited response after a run of three league games

without a win and Toure is determined to maintain that

attitude.

The influential former Barcelona midfielder told City TV: “We

are very pleased with the win because that is the most important

thing for me.

“We have to keep on going and try and win all our games because

we know United are in the top spot.

“We needed 12 wins and we have to keep on going because we don’t

know the future and you can’t say it is finished.

“For the football club and the fans, you can’t give up now.

“We have 11 games remaining and in sport you never know what can

happen in the future.

“We know we have a big calendar, more difficult than them, but

we have to keep on going and try and win matches and not let any

points (slip) away.”

As the more creative side in the clash at the Etihad Stadium,

City deserved their victory but the game hinged on the penalty

incident in the 51st minute.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart tangled with Demba Ba to concede the

spot-kick but, with the striker moving away from goal, was spared

any further punishment by referee Andre Marriner.

Hart made amends for the foul by denying his England colleague

Lampard – who had scored his previous 10 penalties – what would

have been his 200th Chelsea goal.

City took full advantage of that reprieve as Toure beat two men

on a charge into the box and curled a low shot beyond Petr Cech.

Substitute Tevez doubled the advantage five minutes from time with

a shot from just outside the box.

Although the odds on winning the league remain lengthy, City

have at least pulled seven points clear of third-placed Chelsea and

have seemingly avoided being dragged into a battle for second.

Toure felt the result was one of the most important of City’s

season, even if he doubted it was their best display.

He said: “I don’t think so but we needed to make a big

performance because Chelsea is a big club, a big team with big

players and we don’t want to leave any more space (behind

United).

“It is a very important result and you have to credit all the

team, because they performed well.

“If you see the statistics of the game and if you see all the

game, you see the defenders made a big, big game and Joe Hart makes

a big, big save, and after that we have an option to win.

“I think it was the key moment of the game. If you look at the

statistics, Lampard has never missed a penalty like that.

“Joe has made a fantastic save. It was a big performance from

all the team and I am proud of that.”

Hart was equally determined when asked about City’s pursuit of

United.

The 25-year-old said: “If United keep on winning there is

nothing we can do, if they don’t they need to know we are going to

be there.

“We never give up, I think we have made that obvious.

“Even if there is one game to go, and it is still 12 points, we

will do whatever we can to win the league – even if it is not

possible.”

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero took the opportunity to speak of his

love for the club.

The 24-year-old has shown signs of rediscovering his form of

last season lately after being hampered by injuries earlier in the

campaign.

Aguero, signed from Atletico Madrid in a club record ?38million

deal in 2011, said: “I’m very happy at City and I feel very

appreciated here which means a lot to me.

“It’s been barely more than a year and a half since I’ve arrived

and sometimes I feel like I’ve been here all my life.”