Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti accepts the 1-1 draw at Stoke has made defending their Barclays Premier League title more difficult for themselves.
The visitors were fortunate to escape with a point after a stirring display from the Potters, especially in the second half when they struck the crossbar twice and forced Petr Cech into a number of saves.
Having got themselves back into the game when Didier Drogba's 33rd-minute header equalised Jon Walters' early strike the Stamford Bridge side failed to build on that.
The draw, coming after Manchester United had turned around a 2-0 deficit to beat West Ham earlier in the day, leaves Ancelotti's team 11 points behind the leaders.
"We did our best. It was a good result because Stoke had opportunities," said Ancelotti.
"They could have won, we could have won. It was exciting. We have to continue to do our best. The gap was not easy before this game and now it is more difficult but we have to think game by game."