The Liverpool manager, whose side won 1-0 in the same fixture last season, said he had called on his players to produce a positive display in west London – and the Scot was thrilled by his side’s response.
“We wanted the same belief and positivity as last year. I think they surpassed that and were better this year than they were last year,” Dalglish said. “It is a great credit to them to come away from here with three points.
“In the first half we got a goal and were playing really well. In the second half they changed a little bit, put a bit more pressure on us and got the equaliser.
“But we hung on in there and to their credit they kept going. And at that stage of the game to have our right full-back up there and slotting it away is a great credit to the players and how much they want to move forward.”
Dalglish felt his side deserved the three points after a strong first-half performance – and he hailed the impact of substitutes Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson after the break.
“I thought we played really well in the first half, and I don’t know if anyone would object to us taking the three points,” he added.
“I was just pleased with the way they played, their attitude and their commitment. It was ‘Dad’s Army’ really, with a lot of the old boys playing. Then the young boys came on and they never let us down either.”
Johnson, who scored the winner against his former club in the 86th minute, admitted it was a pleasing moment after a spell on the sidelines.
“I was probably the last name on peoples’ minds to score [the winner] but I was grateful to get forward and get the chance,” said Johnson.
“I’ve had a few difficult months but I feel like I’m getting back to full fitness and I feel good.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss AndrÃ© Villas-Boas admitted the defeat is a “big blow” to the Londoners’ title ambitions.
“It would have been a very important win on a weekend where most of the top teams won,” he said. “It’s a big blow for us in the Premiership. We have a home game with Wolves next, before Newcastle and then the leaders and we have to try and win those games, as difficult as they are.”
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