Gary Cahill declared Chelsea are ready to both play and fight their way to the Premier League title after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley extended their lead at the top to 10 points.
Antonio Conte’s side met fire with fire at Turf Moor, where Burnley demonstrated why they boast the third best home record in the top flight this season behind only Chelsea and Tottenham.
Pedro’s early goal appeared to have set the Blues on their way to a ninth league win on the road, but they were forced to go toe-to-toe against fierce opposition after Robbie Brady’s superb first-half free-kick on his full debut drew Burnley level.
“It was freezing cold, snowing, the pitch was average, it was going to be one of those games,” Cahill told Chelsea TV.
“It was a tough game when we had to roll our sleeves up and do the dirty stuff as well as trying to play football.
“We knew it was always going to be a tough game.
“Sometimes you have to dig in at places like this to get the point and maybe it is an important point, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Cahill, signed from Bolton for around £7million in January 2012, made his 150th appearance for Chelsea, who came through unscathed after Burnley posed them different problems.
“You play Man City or Arsenal who move the ball around and it’s tough in different ways, where you have to concentrate and track runners all the time,” said the England centre-half.
“(Against Burnley) Everyone’s seen, it’s very direct, which again is no problem.
“I’ve been involved in teams on both sides of the coin – it’s not a criticism, they play to their strengths.
“You see their goalkeeper coming up to bomb the ball in their box and that’s their strength, they play off second balls.
“Every game’s tough in different ways, so let’s hope it’s a vital point for us.”
Chelsea will be expected to make further big strides towards a sixth English title over the course of their next five league fixtures.
They travel to Wolves in the FA Cup next weekend and then face league games against Swansea, West Ham, Watford, Stoke and Crystal Palace before the visit of Manchester City on April 5.
“There’s 13 games left so we’ll chalk them off, hopefully with the right result,” Cahill added.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel in a way, but it’s been a reminder (at Burnley) that it’s not going to be easy to cross the line.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche said he took great satisfaction in seeing his side’s improvement since winning promotion in May.
“We can use this as a guideline as to how much we’ve moved forward,” he said.
“I talk a lot about the growth of the side and I think the team looks more assured.
“You’re playing against the top end of the market so I was really pleased with that and the mentality as well.
“We’ve got plenty of that glue that holds a team together.”
The Clarets rode the storm in the first 20 minutes and refused to buckle after Pedro had given the visitors a seventh-minute lead.
Dyche added: “We’ve got a resilience to us, everybody knows that, and a relentlessness, no matter what goes against us, to keep doing the right things all the time.”