Chelsea losing grip on title after Aston Villa's late leveller

03 January 2011 10:42
Chelsea's title defence suffered a devastating blow after the champions surrendered two more points in the last minute of a scintillating battle against Aston Villa.

Just four days after relieving some pressure by beating Bolton, the heat was back on manager Carlo Ancelotti last night as his team drew 3-3 at Stamford Bridge.

Ciaran Clark headed Villa's equaliser in added time to leave Chelsea languishing in fifth place, six points behind leaders Manchester United and facing the prospect of failing to qualify for the Champions League if their form does not change.

Click here to read Matt Barlow's report from Stamford Bridge Where were you? Cech clashes withTerry bemoaning Aston Villa's late leveller

Senior Chelsea player s exchanged angry words on the pitch at the final whistle. First a shellshocked Petr Cech berated his leaky defence.

Then John Terry and Didier Drogba trudged off the pitch locked in a heated discussion as the post-mortem began into how more points had been squandered at home.

'We have to improve but we are improving,' said Ancelotti, who must still fear that unless his team start winning regularly the title race will be over by the time they face United at home on March 1.

What happened? Drogba and Terry start post-mortem

Ancelotti spelled out the significance of the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson's side, saying; 'We have to beat them here and that will say something about the title. We obviously need to beat them here.

'The title race is not over and we can say something about it. We have lost confidence but not our winning mentality. We lost two points today in the last situation and for this reason I am disappointed. We were not able to maintain concentration until the end.

'I am disappointed because we used a lot of energy in the second half to try to come back and win and we thought the game was won.'

Team spirit: Ancelotti celebrates with his players after Terry made it 3-2

Frank Lampard opened the scoring with a penalty before Ashley Young equalised from the spot. Emile Heskey headed Villa ahead before Drogba levelled and Terry put Chelsea ahead in the 89th minute.

Ancelotti and his staff celebrated on the pitch after the captain's goal but Clark appeared unmarked to make it 3-3.

'It wasn't over-celebration, it was a good reaction after a very important goal,' said the Chelsea boss.

Ancelotti's side have won only two of their last 10 games in the Premier League, dropping 20 points in the process.

'It was a mistake,' said the Italian, as he reflected on Clark's equaliser.

Blue it: Chelsea squander their lead after Villa's Ciaran Clark scored a dramatic late goal to make it 3-3

'We conceded easy crosses and didn't mark in the box but it was a good second half.

'Defensively, we have lost something. Jeffrey Bruma played very well but without Alex and Ivanovic we lose energy on the high balls. We conceded the second goal for this reason. The third was different. We needed more attention in the box.'

Alex will return to London from Brazil this week, a month after the knee operation which was expected to keep him out for eight weeks.

'We will look at his condition,' said Ancelotti.

'I don't like to speak about which players we need but we need some players.'

Away day: Villa celebrated an important point in their bid to climb the table

For Gerard Houllier, the performance offered great encouragement, even if the point did little to lift Villa away from the lower reaches of the table.

'This can be a turning point,' he said.

'So many points we lost have been to goals at the end. This time we made a goal to get a point.'

 Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 3: Ciaran Clark keeps his head to score dramatic late leveller and inflict further damage on Chelsea's title bidChelsea 3 Aston Villa 3: How the action unfolded at Stamford BridgeAll the latest Chelsea news, features and opinionAll the latest Aston Villa news, features and opinion

 Explore more:People: Emile Heskey, Alex Ferguson, Petr Cech, Ashley Young, Didier Drogba, Gerard Houllier, Frank Lampard, Carlo Ancelotti Places: London, Brazil

Source: Daily_Mail