Demba Ba gave under-fire Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez some much-needed respite by scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, provisionally moving the team into third place in the Premier League.
A toxic atmosphere had been expected at Stamford Bridge after Benitez's outburst on Wednesday, when he criticized the club's board and supporters for not giving him their full backing since his appointment as interim manager.
However, the backlash never materialized and Ba's 28th-minute goal, from David Luiz's nod-down, helped remove any tension that may have surfaced.
Chelsea was dominant throughout and secured a third straight home win in the league to climb above Tottenham, which plays Arsenal on Sunday.
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