Carlo Ancelotti said that Chelsea's "bad moment" had passed and John Terry said the defending champions had rediscovered the passion they had lacked in previous weeks after they came from behind at Tottenham Hotspur to draw 1-1 yesterday.
Only a 90th‑minute penalty miss from Didier Drogba denied them a win and a return to the top of the Premier League. The champions' run of form continues to make grim reading. They have now taken six points from 21 and sit fourth in a tight table. There were plenty of their old traits on show at White Hart Lane, however.
"We played well today," Ancelotti said. "We started well and after we conceded the goal we played differently. In the second half we were better, with more strength, passion and determination. We deserved to win and we were very close to winning. We missed a penalty but it doesn't matter. I think our bad moment is behind us.
"Our moment has not been easy but we showed good confidence, good football and we didn't lose confidence after the first half. We did very well. There was a good reaction. This was a good opportunity to show our qualities and for this reason I'm happy."
Terry was among the guilty Chelsea players for Roman Pavlyuchenko's goal for Tottenham, but he drove his team thereafter and said they would now take on Manchester United and Arsenal in upcoming fixtures with greater confidence.
"That's more like the Chelsea we all know," Terry said. "I think we're back to normal. In the second half we had the hunger, spirit and determination and we pressed a lot better. That's what we want from a Chelsea side. You can lose or draw games but when you don't see the passion, that's what hurts and we'd all admit that's been lacking. Hopefully, it's back now. I never doubted my players, the manager or the football club. Nothing has changed from last year. He brought in one or two players and some went but we won the Double and were the best team by a long way. Nobody is going particularly well and if we can do well over Christmas we have a good chance."
Ancelotti remained bullish regarding his team's chances of retaining their title. "Yes, it's one win in seven and this is not good but it's a long race this year," he said. "There are a lot of teams that can win the title and Chelsea will be involved until the end. It doesn't matter that we're fourth. It might be a problem to be fourth at the end but not now."
Ancelotti took the difficult decision to drop Drogba to the bench, citing his desire to use Nicolas Anelka's pace on the counterattack instead. "Drogba was not happy, but he showed a good reaction when he came on," he said.
Harry Redknapp felt the result offered further evidence of Tottenham's ability to live with the best. "The title is very open," he said. "I saw Man City at West Ham on Saturday and they're strong. Then there's United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham."