Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti accepts the 1-1 draw at Stoke has made defending their Premier League title more difficult for themselves.
The visitors were fortunate to escape with a point at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday after a stirring display from the Potters, especially in the second half when they struck the crossbar twice and forced Petr Cech into a number of saves.
Having got themselves back into the game when Didier Drogba's 33rd-minute header equalised Jon Walters' early strike, the Blues failed to build on that.
They probably had the better of the remainder of the first half but after the interval most of the pressure came from the hosts.
Drogba was Chelsea's only threat, also hitting the woodwork late on, but for a team trying to keep pace with leaders Manchester United there was a distinct lack of chances created.
The draw, coming after Manchester United had turned around a 2-0 deficit to beat West Ham earlier in the day, leaves Ancelotti's team 11 points behind the leaders.
Although they have a match in hand there are only eight games remaining and it is difficult to see where the deficit will be made up in the final six weeks.
"We did our best. It was a good result because Stoke had opportunities," said Ancelotti.
"They could have won, we could have won. It was exciting.
"We have to continue to do our best. The gap (to United) was not easy before this game and now it is more difficult but we have to think game by game.
"We didn't think about this (the gap) before this game and we don't have to think about it after this game.
"The gap is more open now but we have to play our game. It is not about Manchester United.
"I think it is very difficult (to win league) - we said that before the game."
Ancelotti felt a draw was a fair result, even if it was not the correct one for his side.
"It was a really tough game. Both teams could have won," he added.
"We had a good reaction after we conceded a goal and the game was in balance.
"We are not so happy for the result but it was the right one for this game."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was pleased with his side's performance against a team he rates highly.
"It was a great start and Jon scored a great goal but we sat back and gave them the impetus and in the last 20 minutes of the first half they showed what a great team they are," he said.
"We had too many players after we scored sitting back and watching them pass it around.
"In the second half we pushed on to them with better quality balls up to Kenwyne Jones and got more bodies up there and it made for an entertaining game.
"We had the chances to win it but Chelsea are a great side with great players and you have to give them credit.
"They have a massive Champions League game against Manchester United on Wednesday and I thought their attitude was first class.
"You have to give them and their manager full credit because that was a tough game for us."