Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted his side could still go on to win the English Premier League title despite going down 2-1 away to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Defeat left the Blues just a point in front of Manchester United at the top of the table after the reigning champions won 1-0 away to a Manchester City side managed by Ancelotti’s fellow Italian Roberto Mancini earlier on Saturday.
United could be back on top by the time Chelsea kick-off against Stoke next Sunday but Ancelotti was doing his best to remain calm after goals from England striker Jermain Defoe and Wales defender Gareth Bale saw Spurs to a win over a Blues side that finished with 10 men after captain John Terry was sent-off.
“We had a problem with soft defense,” said Ancelotti, whose side pulled a late goal back through England midfielder Frank Lampard.
“We didn’t put pressure on the ball. Lampard scored at the end but when we lost Terry it was impossible to recover the game with 10 against 11,” he said.
But FA Cup finalists Chelsea, bidding for a domestic double, will still win a first English title since 2006 if they win their final three league games against Stoke City, Liverpool and Wigan Athletic.
“We know what we have to do in the next three games,” Ancelotti said. “We must not have a panic now. We are top of the league with only three games left so every team wants to be in our place.
“We have two at home and one difficult game away. We can be the best again. A one-point lead is not bad at this stage of the season. I am always confident,” he said.
“I am less confident than yesterday but we are still in the best position,” the Italian said.
Victory saw Spurs soar into fourth place and go two points clear of City in the race for the final Champions League spot on offer to English clubs.
Last weekend, Tottenham suffered a shock loss to Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final but bounced back with a 2-1 north London derby win over title contenders Arsenal
“They were well-deserved wins,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. “We were the better team again, there was no doubt about that. We created all the chances and deserved the points.”
“The Man United result went our way but you have got to take advantage of that. We had to make sure we won to get the benefit. It’s a difficult task beating Chelsea, not many teams manage to do that,” he said.
Looking at the race for fourth, Redknapp added: “I still think it’s going to be close. Aston Villa and Liverpool have it all to do to catch us but certainly Man City have still got a great chance. We have still got to go to City.”
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