Chelsea shrugged off the disappointment of exiting the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Manchester United with an impressive win at West Bromwich Albion over the weekend. The victory combined with Arsenal failing to beat Liverpool moved Chelsea to within two points of the second-placed Gunners.
Leaders Manchester United ended the weekend a further six points clear and with games quickly running out, it would take an astonishing collapse on the part of Sir Alex Ferguson's side to allow either of their main rivals back into the hunt. Lampard, though, is not letting statistics dent his belief that anything can still happen, especially as Chelsea still have to travel to Old Trafford before the season's end.
"I wouldn't like to say they are out of reach," Lampard said. "It's going to be very difficult. We need to win our games and for them [Manchester United] to lose a couple before we go there to play them. Stranger things have happened."
Kalou, on the other hand, has set a more realistic target. "We know it is not in our hands and if Man U [Manchester United] play well and win their games it is over, so we have to continue to win and look forward at the top of the table," said Kalou.
"We want to be in the top three because it's very important to finish there. When a team plays with confidence it can change a lot of things. We need confidence right now and we got it back playing together. At this difficult time we have to stick together and play hard for the club. We lose together and we win together, and that's the spirit we showed."
Chelsea's confidence received a timely lift at the Hawthorns where Carlo Ancelotti dropped Fernando Torres to the bench and restored the 4-3-3 formation adopted during the double-winning campaign last season. Drogba scored Chelsea's opening goal while Torres failed to find the back of the net during a brief eight-minute appearance.
All eyes will once again be on Ancelotti's selection for Birmingham City's visit, but without the need to rest players to meet the extra demands of the cup competitions, a clearer picture might emerge of the strikers' pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
Birmingham target mid-table finish
Birmingham will arrive in West London targeting a top-half finish having put clear water between themselves and the bottom three following their weekend victory over Sunderland. Alex McLeish's League Cup winners now lie five points clear of the bottom three and with mid-table proving to be exceptionally congested a run of form in their final six games could see them achieve that goal.
Following the Chelsea match, they face an equally daunting trip to face Liverpool, but McLeish believes his side are capable of getting something from the two games.
"The pressure was on us in a home game and we responded to that and we know we've got two hard games coming up which we won't be expected to take any points from," McLeish said. "But there have been other games this season where that's been the case but we have surprised people."