Olivier Giroud admitted it was a massive “relief” his winner saw off relegated Norwich to boost Chelsea’s Champions League bid.
The recalled French striker nodded in Christian Pulisic’s cross in first half stoppage time for his seventh of the season after blowing several chances.
It ensured Frank Lampard’s much-changed side bounced back after a dismal 3-0 loss at Sheffield United and leaves them four points away from Champions League football next term.
Giroud, 33, after his fourth goal since the re-start, said: “We feel relief now. It was important to score before half-time and we were very pleased with that.
“The team was a bit under pressure and we know we needed that win definitely so we are happy. I lost a bit of confidence but my desire to score was bigger. I tried to stay focused and it was a great cross from Christian.
“I always believe and work hard, it is my motto. I am pleased with that goal to help the team to win the game. We really wanted to bounce back.”
Giroud celebrated by pretending to write something which he explained was a nod to playing scrabble with compatriot N’Golo Kante.
Boss Lampard hailed Giroud, saying: “He is always going to give you that desire. He had a fair few chances or half chances.
“But he is a big character for us and scores important goals for us. When he is in the team we need to use his attributes and get crosses in. He has never given me a problem and always trained brilliantly.
“I told him in January I wanted him to stay and he was fantastic how he handled that.”