SCHWARZER: A GOOD SIGN
Yesterday's 1-0 win over Stoke saw the Blues set up an intriguing FA Cup fifth round tie away at Manchester City, but Mark Schwarzer believes thoughts surrounding that game now need to be put on hold as attention turns back to the Barclays Premier League.
The draw saw the top four in the Premier League table all paired together, with Arsenal hosting Liverpool in another standout tie, and while Schwarzer is desperate for us to progress in the competition, our immediate focus must now be geared towards the four tricky league encounters which precede the next round of the cup.
'It's obviously a very tough draw and if you look at our game, and Arsenal against Liverpool, people maybe expect that to happen later in the tournament, but that's the way the FA Cup is, it's the luck of the draw,' said the Blues goalkeeper.
'We've got a lot of football to play between now and then anyway, we need to concentrate on the games we have ahead of us but once it comes to the time of that game our full focus will be on it and we'll be going into it with the confidence and self-belief that we go into every game with.
'As far as I'm concerned, we want to win everything we're involved in, it's not a case of prioritising one over the other. We believe we have the squad, and enough players to do that and to fight on all fronts.'
The game itself saw Jose Mourinho's side dominate for long spells, but through a combination of the woodwork and an inspired performance from Asmir Begovic, Stoke somehow managed to keep their deficit to a solitary goal.
'It was a good win and I don't think the score reflected the way we played today,' Schwarzer said.
'I thought we should have won the game more comfortably, in the first half in particular we were outstanding and all that was missing was more goals. On another day, at half-time it would have been dead and buried.
'When you go in at half-time 1-0 up after a very good performance in the first half, the danger is that Stoke get a second wind, realise they're still in the game and throw everything at you and get a lucky bounce.
'We defended very well, we tried to defend as high as possible because the further away you can keep the likes of Peter Crouch the better it is, and overall they had one shot from distance and a couple that missed the goal.
'I've seen Oscar do that in training on a number of occasions, we're blessed to have a number of very good free-kick takers and it was absolutely no surprise to me to see it hit the back of the net, he's world-class at that.'
For the Australian goalkeeper, the game saw him acquire a fifth clean sheet in six appearances this season, and he is certainly enjoying playing his part in a side which continues to improve.
'I said to Hilario, if it goes on like this for much longer than I'll keep more clean sheets here in a short time than I have in my career,' he said laughing.
'That's one of the big draws of coming to a club like Chelsea; you want to be there competing in every tournament and that's why I'm here.
'We know the quality we've got and we know the work that's being put in on the training ground. Not only have we been grinding out results along the way, we're now starting to play some really good football and that's always a good sign.'