Carlo - Terry not to blame

Ancelotti ready for testing title run-in after shock defeat

Terry: In the spotlight

Terry: In the spotlight

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Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame captain John Terry or goalkeeper Hilario for Chelsea's shock 4-2 defeat by Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

The build-up to the Premier League meeting was dominated by Terry's first meeting with Wayne Bridge following allegations of an affair between the axed England captain and the ex-girlfriend of his former team-mate.

Bridge pointedly refused to shake Terry's hand in the pre-match formalities, but Ancelotti insisted that the focus on the duo had not affected his side, who suffered their first home defeat of the Italian's reign.

When asked if the furore over the Blues skipper had hampered his side, the former AC Milan manager told Sky Sports: "No I don't think so.

"We lost the game because we made mistakes. In the first half we played a good game, we had the advantage. We lost because Manchester played a good game and we made mistakes."

Frank Lampard had fired the Blues into a deserved lead, but Carlos Tevez struck on the counter-attack before the interval, with City then running riot after the break with the Argentina international on target again and Craig Bellamy bagging a brace.

Mistakes

Juliano Belletti and Michael Ballack were both dismissed for the hosts, who hit a late consolation through Lampard's penalty, while back-up goalkeeper Hilario had an afternoon to forget as he could have done better with City's first two goals.

But Ancelotti refused to single out the shot-stopper for blame, with first choice Petr Cech facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a calf injury in the UEFA Champions League defeat to Inter Milan in midweek.

He admitted: "I think that Hilario could do better, but also the defenders could do better in the situation. We lost the balance when we had the game in our hands.

"I think we made mistakes in this game at the end of the first half and the start of the second half and we lost the game.

"We conceded on the counter-attack and lost our balance in that period. We conceded two goals and after that the game was not difficult and we didn't have the possibility to come back into the game."

Ancelotti knows his side face a real battle for the Premier League title, with Manchester United just one point adrift and Arsenal also threatening.

Respect

The Blues are not back in league action until 13th March when they tackle West Ham, with international action and their FA Cup quarter-final against Stoke coming up.

Ancelotti added: "It is more difficult for us and more easy for them.

"They are only one point down. I respect Manchester United and Arsenal and we have to work for this.

"We have to wait. Now there is an international break and next Sunday in the FA Cup we want to have a good reaction.

"We lost, we are disappointed, it was not a good match but we have to look forward because we are still top of the league.

"We have to stay focused and improve and do our job to avoid these mistakes."

Bridge to start at left back against USA 14/1