x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Chelsea back in the race

John Terry praises Michael Essien's return from injury as the Ghanaian scores the winner against Manchester City.

Michael Essien, centre, celebrates what turned out to be the winning goal with Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba.
Michael Essien, centre, celebrates what turned out to be the winning goal with Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba.

LONDON // The Chelsea captain John Terry praised Michael Essien's spectacular return from injury as the Ghanaian scored the winner against Manchester City to move the Blues up to second place in the English Premier League. Chelsea are now just four points behind United after Essien's first-half goal enabled Guus Hiddink's side to overcome a disappointing City at Stamford Bridge.

It was the midfielder's second goal in two matches since returning from a long-term knee ligament injury and Terry said it was just reward for the hard work Essien had put in to regain his fitness. "He's been fantastic - only Michael can do that, he's an absolute machine," said Terry. "You see him work his socks off for six months in the gym, he comes back from the injury and shows his fitness with two goals in two games. To play as well as he has done is fantastic."

Essien admitted that his goal had been a little lucky but was pleased to have finally returned to action, saying: "It's good to be back in the side and back with my teammates, it's fantastic and I am looking forward to the rest of the season." Hiddink said: "It's important to have him back after months out, to be in the squad and making full games because that makes him stronger." sports@thenational.ae