Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - Page 20 News List

Chelsea victory leaves title within touching distance

HANDS OFF Owen Coyle was upset that his team were not awarded penalties for a Didier Drogba handball and for when John Terry blocked a cross with his arm

AFP , LONDON

Chelsea’s Paulo Ferreira, left, is challenged by Bolton Wanderers’ Matthew Taylor during their Premier League match on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge in London.

PHOTO: AFP

Carlo Ancelotti insists there is no chance Chelsea will lose their nerve as they approach the final furlong of the race for the Premier League title.

Ancelotti’s side are within touching distance of winning the league for the first time since 2006 after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Bolton left the Blues four points clear of Man United with four games to go.

The leaders looked anxious at times as they labored to kill off Bolton and Owen Coyle’s team could even have snatched a draw if referee Lee Probert had awarded either of two strong penalty claims.

Ancelotti is adamant his players’ ability to grind out wins from tense encounters like the Bolton game shows they are made of the right stuff to end United’s three-year reign as champions.

“We don’t want to look at the other teams. The Premier League is in our hands. We have to stay focused and calm and prepare for our games,” Ancelotti said. “We have to play game by game and we are not interested in the results of the other teams.”

“There was pressure on us because we had to improve our position. The players have a very good motivation to finish the season well,” he said.

Suggestions from Bolton striker Kevin Davies that his former Wanderers team-mate Nicolas Anelka doesn’t like playing with Didier Drogba were made to look wide of the mark as the pair combined for Chelsea’s winner on Tuesday.

Anelka’s close-range header from Drogba’s 43rd minute cross was his first goal in 14 matches.

Bolton boss Coyle was aggrieved his team was not awarded penalties for Drogba’s handball as he tried to clear from Davies and then when Terry blocked Lee Chung-yong’s cross with his arm.

“We didn’t need any luck. We only needed the officials to get the big decisions right,” Coyle said. “There were two stonewall penalties out there for handballs. The first one when Drogba handballs in the area. He could play world-class volleyball for anybody on that evidence.”

“Then there’s the second one when John Terry handles it. The assistant referee says it hit his shoulder, but it’s a clear penalty. He must have a shoulder that stretches down to his ankles in that case,” he said.

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