Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink says Stoke City made life difficult for his side during the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues lost an opportunity to leapfrog Southampton in the table as they kept their 10th position after Saturday's draw.
But the Dutchman opted to look at the positives as he praised the performance of young midfielders Bertrand Traore and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
"Stoke play well and creatively and they pushed us back," Hiddink told BBC Sport.
"The first goal we got after a sloppy start, it was a beautiful goal. We should have got a penalty for a foul on Oscar. Any referee would have given a free-kick if it was outside the box. That was a key point. Stoke got some encouragement after that.
"We have rested one or two players but it's good to see the players who came in, especially the young ones, like Traore and Loftus-Cheek do well.
"Everyone knows in December we were one point off the relegation zone.
"There was a little bit of panic. Through a lot of draws at the beginning we moved away and then we had to make the next step with victories, which we did."