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Chelsea captain John Terry has warned league leaders Manchester United that there is a long way to go in this season’s title race.

Terry was speaking after Chelsea struggled to overcome Newcastle on Wednesday to cut United’s lead to five points.

“They are probably playing the best football they can play at the moment. They’ve had very few injuries so far,” Terry said after the 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

“Whereas we know as a team we’ve got another level to go to. We need to take the game to teams and then no-one can live with us.

“We must go on a run of games and keep winning.

“We must keep the pressure up. Christmas is a difficult period. United have got tough games. We must just keep winning and keep on like we know we’re capable of.”

Chelsea struggled to break down Newcastle until Drogba, a half-time substitute for the injured Ricardo Carvalho, slotted home after Andrii Shevchenko had mishit his shot.

Drogba started on the bench along with Shevchenko, although unlike the Ukrainian, he had not been dropped by manager Jose Mourinho.

“I make decisions from my analysis. I took him out of the team because I felt the team needed different qualities,” said the Chelsea boss.

“With Salomon Kalou and Arjen Robben, I get different qualities. So we decided to make some changes and Shevchenko was out.

“I think (Shevchenko) took it as a professional. He was not happy but behaved properly. He came on when I decided and did well for the team.

“Drogba was injured. A normal player, with a normal attitude would not have played.

“So I was trying to explain to him the best decision was to save him. If the result was positive at half-time we would not have played him.

“But I felt we needed him at half-time. His attitude in the game and the way he worked for the team meant he was very important for us. He is one of the top players at the moment.”

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