Chelsea’s Title Defence Is ‘all but over’

Carlo Ancelotti last night conceded that it would be difficult foCarlo Ancelottir Chelsea to retain the Premier League title after they suffered an embarrassing defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers which leaves them nine points behind Manchester United having played a game more.

The Chelsea manager said he would be “surprised” if he lost his job despite presiding over the club’s worst sequence of results since the 1995?96 season, but he acknowledged that the team’s form is “not good enough”. Chelsea have won one league match out of their past nine and picked up only 10 points from 11 fixtures.

The trip to Wolves, who started the game bottom of the table but finished it outside of the relegation zone, was seen as a chance to revive their season but José Bosingwa’s own goal, after only five minutes, condemned Chelsea to a sixth league defeat of the campaign.

“We have to maintain confidence,” Ancelotti said. “At this moment it’s very easy to lose confidence, think it’s not a good season, but we can fight for a lot of things. Nothing is lost at the moment.

“Obviously it’s difficult to come back in the Premier League but we have the FA Cup and the Champions League, and the most important thing now is to move on. We have to keep fighting for the title. But you can say now that the gap is not so good. There is a big gap.”

When asked whether he would be surprised if he were sacked, Ancelotti replied: “Yes, I would be surprised. Obviously it is not my decision. I hope that I can continue this job because I would like to stay here and I have a good relationship with the players and with the club.”

Ancelotti, who said that there are no plans to meet the owner, Roman Abramovich, added that he is still the right man for the job. “I don’t have a fear. I have a worry because we don’t reach the result. The result says we are not good enough in this moment but the team has the skill, the ability, the character, the personality to work together, to stay compact with each other.”

The Chelsea manager also bemoaned chances that Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda spurned, as well as the poor defending that led to Bosingwa’s own goal. “We have to stay more focused on the little details because I think the little details decided this match. We could do better in the first situation when we conceded the goal and we could have done better when we had the opportunities to score. The most difficult thing was that we conceded a goal after five minutes.”

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