CARLO Ancelotti heaped praise on Blackpool for never giving in and making it an uncomfortable evening for Chelsea.
The Italian was delighted with his team’s 3-1 victory but acknowledged that the Seasiders were in the contest throughout, even when they were 3-0 down with four minutes to go.
Jason Puncheon’s goal sparked a late comeback, and Brett Ormerod and Ian Evatt had opportunities at the death.
Ancelotti’s men moved within nine points of leaders Manchester United, with a game in hand.
All the talk afterwards among the national journalists was whether it was possible for Chelsea to successfully chase down United and Arsenal and claim a second successive Premier League title.
Ancelotti insisted his side still cannot think about a title challenge, despite capitalising on the weekend slip-ups by the top two.
Ancelotti said: “The game was not easy. Blackpool were in the game until we scored the penalty, and at the end they were pressuring us a lot and we could not relax.
“Our performance was good in genera. We showed some good football and we deserved to win.
“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 (against Manchester City).”
Frank Lampard, who scored twice last night to take his tally to four in his last four games, was more upbeat about Chelsea’s title chances but accepted it would be a difficult task.
“We have to believe. It is a long shot and we have a lot to do, but if we win every game we will have a great chance, but it will be very difficult,” Lampard said.
“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.”
Ancelotti made a point of heading to Ian Holloway’s office for a chat and a drink before departing on the team coach.
The Italian is on record as saying he admires what Holloway has achieved at Blackpool, calling him “a good manager and an honest man”.