Ancelotti cools Blues title talk
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti downplayed his team’s chances of defending their Premier League crown despite beating Blackpool 3-1.
The victory leaves the Blues nine points behind Manchester United with one game in hand and a trip to Old Trafford yet to come.
But Ancelotti said: “Our aim at this moment is to stay in the top four.
“We are closer to Manchester United but we have to prepare for the next game and prepare game by game.”
Chelsea went into the break at Bloomfield Road with a slender lead thanks to John Terry’s
lose-range header but it was the introduction of Salomon Kalou for the injured Didier Drogba in the 55th minute that proved to be the turning point.
The Ivory Coast international played a part in both second-half goals, winning the penalty that Frank Lampard converted and shortly afterwards his defence-splitting pass sent the England midfielder through to score his second of the evening.
“The game was not easy. Blackpool were in the game until we scored the penalty and also at the end they were pressuring us a lot and we could not relax,” added the Italian.
“Our performance was good in general, we showed some good football and we deserved to win.
“Now we have nine points and another game [in hand] against Birmingham but it is too far to think we can come back in to fight for the title. To take it game by game is easier for us.”
Goalscorer Lampard was far more optimistic of his team’s chances of overhauling United but admitted successfully defending the title was a “long shot”.
“We have to believe,” said the 32-year-old. “We have a lot to do but if we go and win every game we will have a great chance to do it, but it will be very difficult.
“We are still behind but it is nice to be looking up in the table at the top four.
“We weren’t at our best tonight, we were a bit sloppy and we cannot afford to be like that if we want to do anything.
“If we win every game we still have a chance but Arsenal and Manchester United are good sides and they have a good lead.”
Blackpool have won just once in nine matches and are just two points above the relegation zone.
Manager Ian Holloway was unhappy with referee Mike Dean’s decision to award a penalty in the 62nd minute for Ian Evatt’s foul on Kalou.
“I’ve watched it again and he [Kalou] couldn’t wait to go down, that is this level,” said Holloway.
“The minute Ian Evatt even thought about going for it, Kalou couldn’t wait and the referee couldn’t wait to give it but he has actually played the ball eventually.
“It shows the quality they have got. We are a bit sore because we didn’t feel we deserved that, we deserved to be less than two goals away from them.
“We needed something to give us a bit of belief, we needed the second goal in the game but unfortunately they got it.”