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Ancelotti satisfied despite stalemate

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with his side's second-half performance in their 0-0 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday, although he believes they should have won the game.

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Ancelotti saw Nicolas Anelka head against the post in the final moments as Chelsea continued their poor form at Villa Park, where they have now won just once in their last 12 visits.

"We didn't start so well and gave Villa a couple of good chances, but in the second half we played very well," Ancelotti said. "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.

"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."

The league leaders were without key players Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Alex for their clash with Villa, but the former AC Milan boss refused to use that as an excuse for their failure to win.

"I'm not going to complain about the injured players because the ones who came in today did well."'

Once player who benefitted from their absence was youngster Josh McEachran, who made an appearance as a second-half substitute.

"Josh is a very good player. He has a fantastic personality as well," Ancelotti added. "He is very young, but is a player who is ready to play for us."

Villa boss Gerard Houllier was satisfied with his team's performance given their injury problems, with Emile Heskey (back), Luke Young (hamstring) and Marc Albrighton (illness) all out.

John Carew, Stephen Ireland and Habib Beye were all drafted in and performed admirably as the home side earned a deserved point.

"The only thing missing from a good game was goals," Houllier said. "It was football played at a great pace between two good sides," Houllier said. "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."

The only sour note for Villa was the injury to central defender Richard Dunne, who was replaced by Ciaran Clark after suffering a gash on his ankle.

"Richard needed four stitches in his ankle," Houllier said. "He wanted to come back, but I said we couldn't wait for 10 minutes and play with 10 men, so I brought on Clark, who also did well."

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