Ancelotti plays down Chelsea title hopes

Carlo Ancelotti refused to entertain suggestions the Premier League title is still within reach following Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Blackpool.

The Blues followed up last week’s stunning 2-1 defeat of league leaders Manchester United by thumping Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Monday, cutting the gap between themselves and United to nine points with a game in hand.

Chelsea, now fourth on the table as Tottenham’s league campaign grinds to a sudden halt, next return to Stamford Bridge to host Manchester City, who are desperate to seal a Champions League berth to justify their massive spending in the transfer window.

But Ancelotti refused to indulge talk of defending the title Chelsea claimed over United in 2009/10.

“I maintain the same idea because we are too far (away),” Ancelotti told Sky Sports.

John Terry headed Chelsea into the lead in the first half and Frank Lampard added two goals within three second-half minutes to put Blackpool to the sword.

But Ancelotti was disappointed Jason Puncheon was able to add a consolation goal for the Seasiders in the 86th minute.

“I think that we have definitely come back to playing our football with power, with strength and character,” Ancelotti.

“But it was not an easy game. Until the penalty, the game was in the balance.”

“I think that we played well. I am a little disappointed because we conceded the goal. We were too relaxed and so we have to stay in focus for the whole 90 minutes.”

The Blues boss also leapt to the defence of 50-million-pound signing Fernando Torres, who is still yet to find the net since moving from Liverpool in January.

“I am very happy because he is working hard, supporting the team, also defensively. I think that he has very good behaviour on the pitch,” he said.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway rued referee Mike Dean’s decision to award a penalty to Chelsea for Ian Evatt’s challenge on Salomon Kalou, saying it turned the game in the visitors’ favour.

“We were a little bit naive. We gave the chance for the referee to give it. He couldn’t wait to give it and the bloke couldn’t wait to fall over,” Holloway said.

“If you look at it carefully, (Evatt) has played the ball. In the Championship it might not have been given.”

“We deserved a goal from our first-half performance and unfortunately last year’s champions are that good that they can hurt you and they did after that.”

“But I’m very proud of my team. We kept going and going and on another day we might have nicked something. Goals are vital at this level. We needed the second one and unfortunately they got it.”