The Observer, David Hytner: “Chelsea did little to quicken the pulses and when they reflect upon a victory that was chiselled from Crystal Palace, their only real source of assurance will come from a glance at the Premier League table. It shows them sitting prettily in second place, two points off Arsenal’s pace. Their next league fixture is at the Emirates on 23 December. This was anything but pretty. Chelsea got what they needed yet it was not the antidote to their recent toils. So many of their big-name players were curiously off-key. It is rather stating the obvious but title-winning teams surely have to be better than this”
The Sunday Telegraph, Oliver Brown: “Jose Mourinho flounced and fulminated in his technical area like a dervish, suggesting none too subtly that this narrowest of victories over Crystal Palace was hardly a performance worthy of prospective champions. While Chelsea edged into second place on Saturday night, two points behind Arsenal, there is only so far they can advance on obduracy alone. Of particular concern was the display by Fernando Torres: granted, he scored the opening goal, but it was scarcely more than a tap-in and his impact elsewhere proved so negligible that it was difficult to believe his team could continue this winter with such a mercurial talent as their solitary target man. At one point the agitated Mourinho had to be admonished by fourth official Lee Mason for kicking a red bag full of medical equipment. It was that type of afternoon, as maddening for the manager as it was for home fans, restless for their lavishly gifted players to dispatch Palace with greater flourish.”
The Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “While statistically nothing like the goalfest at the Etihad, which took Manchester City briefly ahead of Chelsea in the table, this was an equally open game between two sides supposed to be a world apart in ambition and ability. As the result, uncertain until the end, was also a home win, Jose Mourinho’s side went second, two points behind Arsenal, who they play a week tomorrow. It seemed impossible that the second half could remain scoreless as the ball fizzed from end to end, above all in a manic last few minutes. But Palace, invigorated under their new manager Tony Pulis, could not force an equaliser and Chelsea, well below their best, wasted the chances to apply a flattering gloss to the scoreline.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A fiercely-contested London derby was settled by Ramires’s stunning first-half strike, moving us to within two points of leaders Arsenal. Fernando Torres had given us the lead with 15 minutes played, turning home a loose ball after Willian’s shot hit the post, but an impressive Palace side struck back through Marouane Chamakh. Ramires restored our advantage soon after, stroking home from the edge of the box, and it was a lead we hung on to despite some nervy second-half moments. We had some opportunities of our own to extend the lead but no further goals meant a fourth win in five league outings for the Blues. The three points could prove even more pivotal ahead of our next Premier League clash, away to Arsenal, who lost at Manchester City today.”
Jose Mourinho: “I was expecting an easy victory or big problems. I was ready for both things.
“When Palace sit back, compact, they are very well organised by Tony [Pulis]. They wait for the right moment to put a long ball into the box and fight for the first and second ball, I know that they are dangerous.
“When I was reading the game and analysing the situation I was feeling the game could go in both directions. For me this result could have been 5-1 or it could be 2-2.
“It is this club’s nature and DNA to try to fight for trophies. It’s my way of working too. It’s the mentality we want the players to have. We all know this is a transitional period, we all know we have just a few players from the winning side of the past, and we all know we have lots of young talent to improve.
“In another club, with a different profile, everybody would say let’s work and wait calmly, the results will come in the near future, but we are not like that.
“We want to build but at the same time we want to fight for titles and at the moment in the Premier League we are there, two points behind the leader.”
Tony Pulis: “To be in the game for 94 minutes is testament to the commitment and the effort. The important thing is that the lads keep believing that we have got a chance and that we keep playing with that spirit and commitment.
“I thought when we got it to Chamakh we played some good stuff, Chamakh slows it down for us, gets a pass off and gives us time to get runners up the pitch.
“Yannick Bolasie came on and was a threat, Jason Puncheon was a threat and Cameron Jerome was smashing. There’s a threat there.
“The lads have bought into what we’re trying to do. The most important thing is to galvanise a spirit within a football club.”