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Mar 7, 2011

Holloway hits out at penalty decision

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway was criticial of the decision to award Chelsea a penalty as the Blues kept their title hopes alive with a 3-1 victory at Bloomfield Road.

• Jolly: Odd couple still struggling
• Blog: The return to winning ways

Substitute Salomon Kalou was brought down by Ian Evatt with Chelsea leading 1-0, and Frank Lampard scored from 12 yards before adding a third for his team within three minutes.

Holloway, whose side have won only one of their past nine games to slip to within two points of the relegation zone, was unhappy with the role of both Kalou and referee Mike Dean.

"I've watched it again and he (Kalou) couldn't wait to go down, that is this level,'' he said. "The minute Ian Evatt even thought about going for it Kalou couldn't wait and the referee couldn't wait to give it but he has actually played the ball eventually.

"It shows the quality they have got. We are a bit sore because we didn't feel we deserved that, we deserved to be less than two goals away from them. We needed something to give us a bit of belief, we needed the second goal in the game but unfortunately they got it.''

Defeat increases the Seasiders' relegation fears and Holloway added: "We now have a nine-game mini-season to try and keep ourselves in the tightest division there has ever been. It's a pity we weren't up last season as we would be safe by now.''

Though Chelsea won to move to within nine points of Manchester United with a game in hand, Fernando Torres failed to score for a fifth game in succession, even if Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti remains unconcerned with the input of the £50 million signing.

"I am happy as he is working hard, supporting the team defensively and he has very good behaviour on the pitch,'' Ancelotti said.

The Italian continued to play down Chelsea's hopes of winning the title this season, despite moving to within nine points of Manchester United, with a game in hand and with a game against Sir Alex Ferguson's side to come.

"Our aim at this moment is to stay in the top four," he said. "We are closer to Manchester United but we have to prepare for the next game and prepare game by game.

"Now we have nine points and another game (in hand) against Birmingham but it is too far to think we can come back in to fight for the title. To take it game by game is easier for us.''

Frank Lampard insists Chelsea can still go on and defend their title after their 3-1 win at Blackpool. He told Sky Sports 1: "We have to believe (we can do it). It is a long shot and we have a lot to do but if we go and win every game we will have a great chance to do it, but it will be very difficult.

"We are still behind but it is nice to be looking up in the table at the top four. It's been a good week for us, we weren't at our best tonight, we were a bit sloppy and we cannot afford to be like that if we want to do anything. If we win every game we still have a chance but Arsenal and Manchester United are good sides and they have a good lead.''

Kalou, who came on as a substitute for the injured Didier Drogba, won the penalty that allowed Lampard to make it 2-0 and set up the midfielder for the third. Kalou equalled a club record of 93 substitute appearances, but says he is glad to play whatever role is required of him by the team.

"When you don't play often people expect you to make the difference but I am working hard in training and giving my best and hopefully my time will come,'' he said. "The penalty was a great moment for us as it was a physical game and it came at the right time for us.''

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