CARLO ANCELOTTI is convinced he can still mastermind a Premier League title – but has admitted it is more than simply a straight scrap between him and Alex Ferguson.
Ancelotti could not hide his disappointment at St. Andrew’s after recording only one win in seven games which has allowed Manchester United to gain ground on their lead at the top.
The Italian will now face his biggest test yet when talismanic forward Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou head to the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast next month.
But he is adamant that he can bring the first title to Stamford Bridge in four years, even though he has conceded it is no longer a two-horse race.
He said: “I think other teams have a possibility to win this title. We cannot say which is that team now. I think it will be a long race until the end of the season.
“We did very well until the match against Arsenal a month ago. And now we are a little bit down.
“But that’s normal because there are a lot of matches and it is impossible to stay all the time in the top condition. But today I think we gave signs that are good for the future.
“I think we lost a little bit of confidence in our play. This is normal when you don’t get results. Sometimes you can lose this.
“But we have to maintain and stay concentrated because in a season it can happen that you have to overcome a difficult moment. And I think today we did a good job.”
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is considering a bid for on-loan goalkeeper Joe Hart, after the youngster’s excellent performance frustrated Chelsea.
Hart is on loan from Manchester City until the end of the season and is now well in contention for a late push to gatecrash Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad next year.
And McLeish admitted: “We have to ask the question and see where we go with it. We have got him until the end of the season.
“I don’t know what Joe’s own plans are. I know he’s enjoying it here. He’s now a candidate for England’s squad going to the World Cup.
“But buying him is something we have to ponder. The fee wasn’t discussed when we signed him on loan. Of course, it is a danger if the fee goes up.
“What do you do? Bring him in and say: ‘We don’t want to make you better because then it will cost us more?’ We want to make him better. He is also getting a platform to play every week in the Premier League at the moment.”
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