Carlo Ancelotti insists success in the UEFA Champions League can salvage Chelsea's season after their hopes of winning the FA Cup for a third successive season ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat against Everton. Ancelotti's Cup holders crashed out 4-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1 with Everton in yesterday's fourth round replay at Stamford Bridge.
With Chelsea currently lie 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, the Blues - who are not even certain to finish in the top four - now have to win the Champions League to avoid finishing the campaign empty-handed.
They face FC Copenhagen in the first leg of the last 16 Champions League tie in Denmark this week and Ancelotti is still confident his side's season is far from over. "We now have to look forward to use these next days to recover well for the next game in the Champions League," he said. "I think we have the time. It will not be easy but we have the time.
"We have to be able to move on quickly from this defeat. We have a very important game in the next period. We have to move on quickly, mentally. Every time when the team doesn't get the result, obviously the manager is under pressure but I have fantastic support from the club, from my players, and together we have to move on."
Record signing Fernando Torres will be available to face Copenhagen having been cup-tied against Everton. And with Manchester United due to visit Stamford Bridge the following week, Ancelotti is hoping the prospect of two important games will bring out the best in his side.
"Next Tuesday we can use Fernando Torres and obviously we will have a lot of opportunities to score," he said. "I think we can finish in the top four. It's not an easy moment obviously because we have to play very important games but sometimes it's good to play tough games because you are more in focus.
"We don't have to be afraid to play against Copenhagen or Manchester United. I think it could be a very good season for us because we are staying in competition in the Champions League and want to win it. It was fantastic last year to win the double. This year we haven't reached our best, but we have to do better in the next few months."
Phil Neville struck the winning penalty for Everton after Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole had missed for the home side. Prior to that, Chelsea had appeared on course for victory when Frank Lampard broke the deadlock in the 104th minute before Leighton Baines levelled for the visitors in the final minute of extra time.
Everton manager David Moyes has been under growing pressure due to his side's struggles in the league, but the Scot believes this win can be a springboard for their campaign. "If we had beaten Bolton last week we'd have gone eighth in the Premier League and we would have been talking about Everton coming with their usual late run," said Moyes, whose side face Championship club Reading in the fifth round.
"So the manager and the players had a chance to change the perception of the club. We didn't do it. Not only that, we didn't play well. So it was good to send 6,000 fans home with a much better feeling about their team and their club.
"You can only put the team out you've got. If you've got it (money) great, if you haven't you have to do the best you can. The chairman's a great chairman, a great owner. I just wish he had a few bob as well."