John Terry insists he never stopped believing Chelsea could catch Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title.
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The Blues’ players could be forgiven if retaining the championship was the last thing on their minds just over two months ago when they were languishing outside the top four and in danger of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
They were also on course to drop 18 points behind United when they trailed the leaders 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on March 1.
But coming back to win that game has sparked a run of 25 points from the last 27 that saw them slowly reel in United, whose defeat at Arsenal on Sunday blew the title race wide open.
Incredibly, Chelsea will travel to Old Trafford on Sunday knowing victory would put them back on top of the table with just two games remaining.
Captain Terry said: "I always believed.
"Through the season, you have good spells, some not so good spells and some bad patches as well.
"There was no doubt we’d have a bad one and it was about coming out of that as soon as we could.
"It took us a few weeks to do that but, once we did, we’ve shown a turn of form at the right time.
"All we could do was keep winning and putting the pressure on."
England skipper Terry admitted being "an Arsenal fan for 90 minutes" on Sunday as United lost 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium less than 24 hours after Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-1 to close to within three points of top spot.
The force appears with the champions judging by the assistant refereeing blunders that gifted them their win on Saturday.
Terry claimed he had seen a photograph that "clearly" showed Frank Lampard’s equaliser had crossed the line, despite television pictures suggesting otherwise.
Terry, who made his 500th Chelsea appearance against Tottenham, added: "We deserved that because we never give up and that’s the mentality of the football club.
"We’ve got that mentality on the training pitch, a great manager the players believe in and trust. He deserves a great deal of credit.
"He took a lot of stick but he kept us going and, with the formation, went back to what worked for us earlier in the season. We will never give up."
Terry admitted winning the title would match anything he had achieved in football and he warned United that Chelsea were a stronger side now than the one they beat home and away in the Champions League last month.
"We go there really fresh, full squad of players and full of belief," he said.
"As we showed last year by going to Old Trafford and winning a decisive game in the Premier League, there’s no reason why we can’t go there and win again."
He added: "There’s no bigger spur than going to Old Trafford and winning to put ourselves right in the frame for bringing the Premier League trophy back to the Bridge.
"At the end of it, regardless of whether it is Man United or whoever in front of us, it is that trophy we want.