Last updated : 04 January 2006 By Editor

“They have been fantastically consistent and no one in this league can match them at this time. I don't think the quality of the game has been raised in any way. I think what they have done is retain that great consistency and they don't care if they win games 1-0. They're happy to grind out a 1-0 and defensively they've carried on from last season and been excellent.

“We’ve taken eight points out of 12 from our Christmas games and I wish it was better. But we want to stay the nearest team to Chelsea just in case they collapse or have a Devon Loch moment. You never know.

“Our confidence is back and we’re playing with great spirit and camaraderie. We have a young team who will get better and, hopefully, match Chelsea eventually.
“I thought we had the best chances of the match. I thought we had the clear chances and I think they probably had more possession and a draw was maybe a fair result. You have got to take one of them. You hope you take one anyway.

“I think the fact that it was the fourth game in eight days explains why the offensive level of the game was not as creative as these kind of games are usually. The pace was relentless, it just kept going and going. You had to admire the quality of human resources of both sides and it was a tribute to them how they can find something after those four matches.”

Darren Fletcher:

"Chelsea will be watching that and be pleased we have dropped points when we are their closest rivals. Chelsea are the winners from that game. We lost ground again and Chelsea will be pleased as we are the closest rivals. We have to keep persisting with the way we are playing. We've just got to keep winning and stay in second."


"At the moment Chelsea are out on their own. No one can compete with them. I feel that Chelsea is a mature team. All their players are between 25 and 30 [Michael Essien, Arjen Robben, Petr Cech and Joe Cole are all regulars and all under 25] and they have power and belief.

"We are still a very young side and it is important for our confidence not to lose the big games like this. But I feel we are coming back to a good level and at the moment the team needs belief and it's important for these young players not to lose the big games and to know they can win them, to get them to the level they need to be.
"I don't speak about the title but for the team it was a good result. Even though we are 11 points behind Manchester United, I don’t feel second place is beyond us.

"We tried to win and I felt they did too. The first half was played at a high pace, it dropped a bit in the second but we could not find the spark in the final third to make the difference. We wanted to win but it was a high pace and I felt both teams were always trying to have a break to get the other on the counter-attack.

"It was difficult to create chances but in the end we created a few and they created a few. I felt it was very close to a penalty on Fabregas when Neville tackled him from behind in the area."