LONDON (AP) — With no distractions from cup competitions, Chelsea’s path to the Premier League title is clear with 11 games to go — starting on Sunday against Southampton.
The Blues were eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday, less than two weeks after winning the League Cup.
“The same players, they have to go to the pitch on Sunday and give one more step to win the Premier League because if we win the Premier League and the Capital One Cup this season it’s still a fantastic season for us,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. “So no time to cry. Move on and look forward.”
Chelsea has a five-point lead over Manchester City, and a game in hand over the champions.
“There is an awful lot to do but it’s in our hands and we have to respond,” Chelsea captain John Terry said. “We’re a few points clear and we need to keep that gap and maintain it.”
Southampton spent the first half of the season surprisingly in the top four, but fell off the pace and is seventh ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge.
“Southampton will come here playing on the front foot,” Terry said. “And, if we’re not at it, we’ll drop points and slip away in the Premier League.”
Here are some things to know ahead of this weekend’s games:
KANE VS. FALCAO
When Manchester United hosts Tottenham on Sunday, the fortunes of two strikers will come into sharp focus.
In the red corner — potentially on the United bench — is Radamel Falcao, who has scored only four goals during an underwhelming loan spell from Monaco. The 29-year-old Colombian’s fortunes have sunk so low that he was sent to play for United’s second-string under-21 team on Tuesday.
“He has scored four goals … and has I think three or four assists so that is his contribution,” United manager Louis van Gaal said. “And he stimulates also the other players so that is also an aspect of a professional.”
But Falcao arrived in England with big expectations. Tottenham striker Harry Kane, though, started the season not even knowing if he would even play for the first team. After forcing his way into the side, the 21-year-old Kane is now being touted as England’s great striking hope for the future following 26 goals.
Both United and Tottenham are pushing for a spot in the top four with their cup campaigns over. Despite United’s underwhelming performances in recent weeks, Van Gaal’s side is in the final Champions League place. But half of United’s remaining 10 games are against the other five teams in the top six.
Tottenham is sixth, but only three points behind fourth-place United.
After being dropped for Man City’s last game — a 2-0 win over Leicester — captain Vincent Kompany will be waiting to discover if he is restored to the team at Burnley on Saturday.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini said it was “important to refresh the team mentally and physically after two difficult” losses to Liverpool and Barcelona.
Kompany has struggled this season to reach the high standards in defense he has previously reached. City has conceded 27 goals in 28 games compared to 37 in last year’s title-winning campaign.
This article was written by Rob Harris from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.