Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was content with a share of the spoils from a goalless draw at Aston Villa despite missing out on the chance to move seven points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
The Blues were held to a goalless draw after Nicolas Anelka headed against the woodwork in the closing seconds and they have now only won once at Villa Park in their last 12 visits. But Ancelotti was happy with the way his team responded to the absence of key players such as Didier Drogba, Alex, Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard.
He said: "We didn't start so well and gave Villa a couple of good chances, but in the second half we played very well. We did everything to try and score. The way we played in the second half we deserved to win, but Villa did well in the first half, so a draw is fair."
He added: "I am not disappointed about failing to go seven points clear. We knew this would be a difficult game.
"Last year we lost here. This is a good result at this stage of the season, and to be five points clear is good.
"I'm not going to complain about the injured players because the ones who came in did well."
Villa boss Gerard Houllier was also content after suffering three late withdrawals in Emile Heskey (back), Luke Young (hamstring) and Marc Albrighton (illness).
He was forced to bring in John Carew, Stephen Ireland and Habib Beye as their replacements, and they all performed well.
Houllier said: "The only thing missing from a good game was goals. It was football played at a great pace between two good sides.
"We had the better chances in the first half, but we were under the cosh in the second half before coming back at the end. We had to make late changes, but I want to pay homage to the players who filled in and the way they responded. They showed great attitude and a great spirit."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms