Carlo Ancelotti declared Chelsea could complete a sensational late comeback in the Barclays Premier League title race if Manchester United lose two more matches before the end of the season. But the Blues boss admitted his own side also needed to win all five of their remaining games to retain their crown.
Chelsea took a small step towards the most improbable of late surges by beating Birmingham 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to leapfrog ailing Arsenal into second place and close to within six points of United. The leaders are still firm favourites to finish top, but have to play both of their closest challengers in the next three games.
Ancelotti said: ‘To win the title we’ll need less points than last season. ‘We won it with 86 last season. Now, with 80 points, United can win the title. They need 10 points.’ He added: ‘In football, I learned that everything can happen in the game right up to the final whistle.
“You can win the title in the last minute and you can lose the title in the last minute. ‘If we thought that one month ago we’d have a little chance to come back to fight for the title, I think that everyone could have said we were crazy. ‘Now we are happy tonight because we’ve reached second place. We await to see what happens in the next five games.’ However, Ancelotti refused to look too far ahead, saying: ‘Our aim is to try and win every game. After that, we can see our results and our position in the table. ‘Six points at this stage with five games to go will not be easy, but we don’t have to think we can or can’t do this.’ And with the teams still to play each other, boss Ancelotti said: “Everything is open.
One month ago, we thought we had little chance of fighting for the title and if we’d said we could win it, you’d have said we were crazy. “But I have learned that anything can happen in football, right up until the final whistle. “You can win the title in the last minute and you can lose it. “Now we are happy because we are in second place. We wait to see what happens in the last five games. After that, we can say if the season was good or not good.”
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes his side need one more win to make certain of avoiding the drop. He said: “We made a shocking start. We did the same last season and gave ourselves a mountain to climb. “I’d say we need another win. We’ll try and get as many points in the last five games as we can.” And the Scot refused to rule out Chelsea’s title hopes. He added: “You just never know, the way this league is this season. There could be further twists but United are in a hell of a good position.”
Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail