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.”