Ancelotti: Title hopes have suffered

BY foxsports • March 22, 2010

Carlo Ancelotti admits that Chelsea's hopes of winning the Premier League had suffered a blow after they only managed a 1-1 draw at Blackburn.

Chelsea had gone in front through Didier Drogba's 22nd league goal of the season but let the lead slip and were punished by El-Hadji Diouf's header late in the second half.

Chelsea have dropped out of the top two for the first time since the second weekend of the season and are now four points behind Manchester United and two behind Arsenal, though with a game in hand.

The Chelsea manager said: "It will be more difficult now to win the title but it's not impossible.

"We are disappointed because I think we lost two points here, and important points.

"We had prepared well for the game, we had tried to win to cancel out the game against Inter and for one hour we did well.

"It's not an easy moment for us and we have to maintain our confidence and our composure.

"Manchester United are now top of the league and we have to run more and do better and leave this behind us as soon as possible."

Chelsea travel to Portsmouth on Wednesday and Ancelotti said they could afford no more slip-ups. Their recent record is four wins, four defeats and one draw in their last nine games.

"It's important to win on Wednesday," added Ancelotti.

"Our difficulties started against Manchester City in an unbelievable game [Chelsea lost 4-2] and the only situation is go forward and win.

"We have less probability to win this title but we want to give it our best.

"We need to work together, stay compact and the next game against Portsmouth is very important, we can stay close to Manchester United.

"I don't know how many points we need to win the title but I know we have to win on Wednesday and then prepare game by game."

Chelsea are likely to be without Branislav Ivanovic against Portsmouth after he suffered a knee injury but keeper Petr Cech and Michael Ballack should be available.

Ancelotti admitted his players had "lost composure" against a rugged Blackburn side whose determination was summed up by an awesome league debut by central defender Phil Jones, who only turned 18 last month.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce said: "It was a great performance by a young man who is looking like he has a bright future.

"As big a team as Chelsea are we felt it was time to give him the chance.

"It's nice to see a player that excites you like that - especially when he's a centre-half like I was.

"We have recommended him to the England under-19s and said he should be playing at that level but there is a still a long way to go for him to be a regular Premier League centre-half."

Allardyce said he hoped Blackburn would continue to affect the title race by taking point off United and Arsenal.

He added: "Obviously we have dented Chelsea's chances a little bit but we have Arsenal and Manchester United to come and we hope we have a big effect on who wins the league by taking points off the big boys."

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