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Penalty hero Petr Cech rues latest Chelsea slip-up

Petr Cech saves Clint Dempsey's penalty
Cech secures a draw for Chelsea but it is more dropped points for the champions

Chelsea keeper Petr Cech conceded a point was not enough in their quest to win the title despite his last-minute penalty save earning a draw at Fulham.

The Premier League defending champions now trail leaders Manchester United by 12 points with 12 games remaining.

After keeping out Clint Dempsey's spot-kick in the 0-0 draw, Cech said: "For the title, this point is too little.

"Mathematically it's not over, but we are quite far off because our rivals won games and we lost two points."

Despite Cech's save in the 93rd minute to rescue a point, with leaders United and second-placed Arsenal both winning at the weekend, Carlo Ancelotti's team remained in fifth place and face a monumental task to retain their crown.

We deserved to beat Fulham - Ancelotti

The Italian boss, whose side have already lost seven times this season, admitted the club's main mission was now geared towards qualifying for the Champions League by finishing in the top four.

Ancelotti said: "The most important thing is to finish in the top four. I think we will be able to do this if we play like we did tonight. I'm an optimist and there's good reason to have confidence.

"The football we showed tonight was good, and we have to continue it. I think that we deserved to win this game. We could lose it, but Petr Cech saved a penalty with a fantastic save."

Striker Fernando Torres was guilty of four missed chances as he again misfired in his second game for his new club since moving from Liverpool for £50m.

With Didier Drogba dropped to the bench, Ancelotti defended his decision to revert to a 4-3-3 formation with Nicholas Anelka and Florent Malouda supporting the Spaniard.

I don't know if Didier was happy, but every player knows every game is important. We wanted to rotate to maintain his condition and to give everyone great motivation

Carlo Ancelotti

"Fernando played well," added Ancelotti. "He had some opportunities in the first half and I took him out just to use Didier fresh and with power.

"Every striker wants to score. I don't think he's frustrated because he needs time to play with us and, after one week, he was really better after that first performance.

"I don't know if Didier was happy, but every player knows every game is important. It doesn't matter. We wanted to rotate to maintain his condition and to give everyone great motivation."

Hughes admits to penalty nerves

Fulham boss Mark Hughes was unhappy to have been denied a victory that would have hoisted them into the top half of the table.

"Given the circumstances at the end, it's disappointment," the former Blues striker said. "We came up against a strong Chelsea side who posed questions of us in the second half, and we had to be strong and resilient.

"But it was a real opportunity to beat a very good side at the end. We've been playing well of late and showed real character to dig in and create chances at the other end."

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Barclays Premier League results

14 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 14 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 26 32 57
2 Arsenal 26 29 53
3 Man City 27 19 49
4 Tottenham 26 9 47
5 Chelsea 26 24 45
6 Liverpool 27 3 39
7 Sunderland 27 0 37
8 Bolton 27 1 36
9 Stoke 26 -2 33
10 Newcastle 26 2 32
11 Blackburn 27 -8 32
12 Fulham 27 0 31
13 Everton 26 -3 30
14 Birmingham 25 -8 30
15 Aston Villa 27 -15 30
16 Blackpool 26 -11 29
17 West Brom 26 -17 27
18 Wigan 27 -18 27
19 West Ham 27 -18 25
20 Wolves 26 -19 24

see also
Fulham 0-0 Chelsea
14 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Fulham v Chelsea as it happened
14 Feb 11 |  Football

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