Essien - Title within reach

Midfielder confident Blues will top table

Michael Essien is confident that Chelsea can win their remaining seven games and beat Manchester United in the Premier League title race.

The Blues moved into second place with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday but they remain five points adrift of United.

However, Essien has warned Sir Alex Ferguson's side to expect a fight to the finish as he insists there is still plenty of time for teams to drop points.

"We've shown character by storming back into contention for the title when not many people gave us a chance," the midfielder told The Sun.

"We need that character to get through the remaining matches successfully.

"It is very important for us to beat United if we are to win the title. But ultimately we must win all our remaining matches to be sure.

"At this stage of the season any team is capable of dropping points so it is well within our reach to win the title."

Essien also believes Chelsea have an excellent chance of winning the UEFA Champions League after advancing to the quarter-finals.

No predictions

They will meet Fenerbahce in the last eight but Essien has stressed that the Turkish side will not be taken for granted.

He said: "In the past when people have written us off, we defied the odds and put in good performances. Also, when a lot of people said we were going to win the Champions League, it did not happen.

"So predicting something is difficult, but what I can assure you is we won't underestimate any team. All the strong teams in Europe are in the competition."

Essien has struggled to get in the Chelsea side in recent weeks with Frank Lampard and Michael Ballck preferred in the centre of midfield.

However, the Ghanaian is happy with his role and determined to contribute in whatever way he can over the last two months.

He added: "The team is the most important thing. I'm not used to sitting on the bench but I will always give 100 per cent to the team and will continue to do that."