Carlo Ancelotti declared Chelsea back in the Barclays Premier League title race after seeing them end their miserable run by beating Bolton.
The Blues ground out the scrappiest of 1-0 wins on Wednesday night to take maximum points for the first time in seven matches and close to within four points of leaders Manchester United.
After watching his side edge back above Tottenham into fourth, the Italian said: "It's very important for us now to stay focused on the games. Because the league is open again - it is not closed for us."
But he admitted Chelsea would have surrendered their title had they failed to win against Owen Coyle's side.
"Obviously, yes," said Ancelotti, who went into the match with the backing of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
"I think it was the most important thing to change the atmosphere, to change the trend, to come back to win."
Bolton boss Coyle was aggrieved after Chelsea's Didier Drogba got the benefit of a marginal offside call before laying on Florent Malouda's winner.
"Ultimately, we've been done with a huge decision that I believe was offside," he said. "But I was here last year and had two stonewall penalties - I think Didier Drogba was playing volleyball with one - and I never got a penalty, so I certainly wasn't going to get that."
Despite missing the chance to climb above Chelsea in the league, Coyle was nevertheless delighted at the progress his side had made since he took charge at the start of 2010 - when Bolton were in the drop zone.
He said: "If somebody had said we'd be coming to Chelsea in the last game of the year with a chance to leapfrog them, at that point they'd have probably taken me away in a straightjacket."