Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti chose to look on the bright side as he reflected on his side’s second league defeat in a week. Lee Bowyer scored the only goal of the game for Birmingham City as they clung on to a crucial 1-0 win at St Andrews but the Italian focused on the positive performance rather than the negative result.
Bowyer scored his first goal of the season by racing onto Cameron Jerome’s knock-down in the 17th minute and finishing coolly past Petr Cech. The goal stunned Chelsea and then forced them into action. The league leaders had 23 shots on goal, eight of which were on target while their hosts only hit the target once from their three attempts. Didier Drogba, who has been battling malaria, was the focal point for everything positive the Blues did but as much as he tried he was unable to score. Ben Foster somehow kept out a close-range downward header with a strong push before the Ivorian marksman crashed another off the bar. Salomon Kalou and Branislav Ivanovic were also denied by the former Manchester United and Watford stopper who proved to be in superb form. “Ben Foster was fantastic and saved a lot against him, congratulations to him,” conceded Ancelotti.
The defeat means that for the first time in four years, Chelsea have lost consecutive league matches but Ancelotti saw the match as an improvement from last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat. “I was really disappointed with the performance against Sunderland but this is different, just with the result. We have to know this is football and it’s important to maintain confidence in our play and our ability.”
“We didn’t win because I think we were unlucky. I have to say nothing to my team because everyone showed good spirit, good attitude, everyone wants to win, we played good football, had a lot of chances but we lost. It is a difficult moment but we don’t have to lose confidence,” the manager told Chelsea’s website. “It is difficult to explain this defeat. Chelsea played a fantastic game and deserved to win.”
Ancelotti is currently going through his most testing time as Chelsea manager with a number of keys players injured, although he will take heed from the fact that his side remain top of the table. John Terry is sidelined with nerve problems in his legs and that leaves Alex, who is waiting to undergo surgery on a troublesome knee injury, as the only recognised centre-back available. The Brazilian was expected to miss the St Andrews clash because of the procedure but as the situation with Terry continues to remain unclear, Alex may be forced to continue to play through the pain. “We have to wait for the reaction tomorrow; I think we can postpone surgery.”