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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Toffees add to Ancelotti woes as Chelsea fail to hit the spot

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti backed his side to bounce back from their latest setback this season after their hopes of retaining the FA Cup were ended by Everton.

The Toffees won 4-3 on penalties in Saturday's fourth-round replay at Stamford Bridge after stunning the holders with a 119th-minute free-kick equaliser through Leighton Baines.

The full-back's effort cancelled out Frank Lampard's opener earlier in extra-time and, although Baines missed his own spot-kick, Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole followed suit before Phil Neville stepped up to win it for the visitors.

Defeat not only ended Chelsea's hopes of a historic hat-trick of FA Cup successes but was also a further blow in a season in which they are already all but out of the Premier League title race.

Ancelotti's side now must beat FC Copenhagen in the last 16 of the Champions League to stand any chance of ending the season with silverware.

"Obviously, we are not happy but we have to look forward, to use these days, the next days, to recover well, to recover energy and to prepare well (for) the next game in the Champions League," the Italian said.

"I think that we have the time. It will not be easy but we have the time."

Everton boss David Moyes hailed his side's display, which came less than a week after a limp surrender at Bolton.

"You just have to prod people sometimes, and they needed a good prodding," he said.

Alex Ferguson (right) admitted his Manchester United side were lucky to claim a 1-0 fifth-round win over non-league Crawley.

Wes Brown's first-half header proved the difference, but the minnows did enough in the second half to warrant an equaliser with Richard Brodie's stoppage-time header hitting the bar.

"They deserved a draw given their second-half performance," said Ferguson.

"There is no doubt a few players did not do themselves justice.

"I had no complaints in the first half, I thought we did okay -- but we weren't at the races in the second. We were second to every ball."

Crawley manager Steve Evans admitted it was a chance missed for his side.

"We really thought we could win," he said.



Fantastic

Stoke boss Tony Pulis praised his team for a professional performance as they saw off League One leaders Brighton 3-0 thanks to first-half goals from John Carew, Jon Walters and Ryan Shawcross.

"The attitude of the players was absolutely fantastic," Pulis said. "We looked fresh and ready to go to work and the disappointing thing in the first half was that it was only 3-0. Jon Walters could have scored a hat-trick."

Birmingham were also 3-0 winners over lower league opposition as they knocked out Sheffield Wednesday, the goals coming from Jean Beausejour, Obafemi Martins and David Murphy, and boss Alex McLeish was pleased with the performance after making eight changes.

He said: "In terms of allowing players to recharge batteries and being able to change the team, and also for the players to come in and get some much-needed match practice, it was a good day for us."

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