Carlo Ancelotti admitted Chelsea’s chances of winning the English Premier League are all but over after their 0-0 draw with Fulham.
And it could have been worse for Ancelotti on Monday if not for Petr Cech’s penalty save, which denied Clint Dempsey in injury time after the American’s spot kick was poorly hit.
The goalless draw at the Craven Cottage means Chelsea are now 12 points behind table-toppers Manchester United and sit fifth on the table, making any chance of a title charge unrealistic.
“It’s very difficult,” Ancelotti told Sky Sports when quizzed about the Blues’ title prospects.
“Obviously we have to try to do our best, game-by-game. We played a good game tonight and deserved to win. This is football.”
While 50 million-pound signing Fernando Torres was largely disappointing, Chelsea’s other new boy David Luiz – apart from a clumsy tackle to give away the penalty – was terrific.
Ancelotti said afterwards that although Torres was improved from his Chelsea debut against former team Liverpool, he needs to work with the team more.
“I think he has to work with the team, he has the chance,” he said.
“He has to know our kind of play. I think his performance for 60 minutes was good. He had two opportunities to score and was not lucky.”
“He was better compared to his last performance against Liverpool.”
Fulham manager Mark Hughes was disappointed after the match, insisting Dempsey’s penalty should have been retaken.
Hughes, a former Chelsea player, said Blues substitute Didier Drogba was encroaching in the penalty area before the miss which denied Fulham a win over their West London rivals.
“Drogba was encroaching in the box,” Hughes said.
“Mike Dean saw it: he was alongside Clint as he kicked it. Mike Dean saw that, so it should have been retaken.”
When asked on his feelings about the result, Hughes responded: “Given the circumstances at the end, it’s disappointment.”
“We came up against a strong Chelsea side who posed questions of us in the second half, and we had to be strong and resilient. But it was a real opportunity to beat a very good side at the end.”