Ancelotti continues to dream as Redknapp throws in the towel

Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

It was nearly 24 hours before the significance of Saturday's errors by the men running the Stamford Bridge touchlines became evident. Only with Manchester United's loss to Arsenal and Manchester City's win over West Ham did the impact of a Chelsea equaliser which did not cross the line and an offside winner become clear.

For Chelsea, the title race is still very much on. Win at Old Trafford next week and the top two will be separated only by goal difference. For Tottenham, however, an instant return to the Champions League now seems highly unlikely, for they trail City by seven points with four matches remaining.

Chelsea's recovery, from 15 points adrift, has been remarkable; almost as remarkable as the fact its architect woke again to headlines suggesting his departure was imminent.

Rafael Benitez, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten are the leading names in the frame to replace Ancelotti but it is hard to argue any of them represent a better chance of long-term success than the Italian, the only man to lead Chelsea to the Double.

While Chelsea captain John Terry stopped short of demanding Roman Abramovich retain him, his message was clear: the players back Ancelotti.

"We've got a great manager the players believe in and trust, and who has kept us going," he said. "[Ancelotti] deserves a great deal of credit. He took a lot of stick but he kept us going.

"Since we lost to Manchester United [in the Champions League] he's been brilliant. He spoke after 15 minutes of silence and said: 'Listen, we can make our season what we want it to be. We don't give up now, we continue right to the end, for our football club, for our supporters and for ourselves.'

"Over the next few days in training things were low but he picked everyone up and got them going again. He's kept everyone fresh and hungry and deserves a lot of credit for that."

The manager himself said if Chelsea were to pip Manchester United and successfully defend their title "it will be really strange", adding, "we have very little chance, because the title is not in our hands, but we have momentum."

The dream was still alive for Ancelotti but the Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, had given up on his. It is more likely that Spurs will finish behind Liverpool, but since that removes the onerous Europa League from next season's fixture, list Redknapp was not exactly distraught at the prospect.

No Champions Legaue football next season might make the likes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric reconsider their future at the club but, said Redknapp, "we weren't in the Champions League when they came here so I don't see that being a problem. They know we're a good side, but what we've got to do is add one or two top-drawer players, show them we mean business, and get back in the Champions League."

Redknapp said he had yet to speak directly with chairman Daniel Levy about the issue but added, "I'm sure he's got to be positive – where do you go if you're not?"

Although Tottenham continue to lose more often than not against the leading teams, they showed enough at Stamford Bridge to justify Redknapp's belief that they "can play against anybody now", and were unfortunate to lose. Overdue goalline technology would have ruled Frank Lampard 45th-minute shot out, the cameras also proved Salomon Kalou was offside when he tapped in the 89th-minute winner. Not that many would go so far as to welcome technology deciding offside incidents.

Besides, assistant referees are not the only ones who err – Lampard's drive should never have gone anywhere near the line but Heurelho Gomes allowed it through his hands.





Booked: Chelsea Ivanovic, Terry, Drogba. Tottenham Pavlyuchenko.

Man of the match Modric

Referee A Marriner (West Midlands)

Attendance 41,681.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?