Guus Hiddink has conceded that the Blues will have to look beyond the Premier League for glory this season after Wednesday night's 0-0 draw with Everton.
Chelsea did not need any more dropped points to remind themselves that their title hopes are pretty threadbare approaching the final month of the season - but they got them just the same.
They might reasonably have expected Everton to be jaded fallguys after an attritional FA Cup semi-final on Wembley's pudding pitch 24 hours later than the Blues' own excursion to the stadium.
But it was the Toffees who looked the better side and who might easily have headed back to Merseyside with all three points.Theirs was a deserved draw.
"We said before the game that the two followers of Man U must not waste any points in order to keep in the race, but the facts are we lost two points tonight and you must be realistic that you cannot waste any points," Hiddink said.
"The pressure was more on Liverpool and Chelsea regarding the title race than on Man U, who had a game in hand. It's difficult and we have to focus now on the other two roads - the champions league and May against Everton in the FA Cup.
"There was desire but when you don't score, you try to do even more and lose the positions and the patience. You have to try not to force it but sometimes we didn't work with the needed intelligence to break down this well-organised wall of defence. They had some dangerous counter-attacks as well."
Chelsea almost won the game deep into injury time when the irrepressible Didier Drogba carved out a yard of space on the turn with a deft touch to take Branislav Ivanovic's cross away from defender Joseph Yobo. The Ivorian sent a rasping drive against the bar but a goal then would have been an injustice to the hard-working visitors, who started with the bulk of the players involved at Wembley.
The Blues looked eager and monopolised the ball at times but it was not until an hour had been played that they troubled Everton keeper Tim Howard, and that was only from a speculative long-ranger from John Terry. By contrast, the lively Jo constantly troubled the Blues and with a little more composure might have punished the home side.
At least Petr Cech shruged off his recent wobbles with an assured display. He made one brave dash from his goalline to head the ball away from the onrushing Jo near the end to preserve a much-needed clean sheet and it will have been worth the bloody nose he got in return.
"He put his head very bravely in and managed to have a good performance," Hiddink said. "He had some difficult games recently, but I think he recovered himself very well.
"He was relaxed and I think tonight he showed what he is capable of. Every now and then a player has the right to have a period where he's not in peak performance but it was very short [for him] and I'm very happy for him."
Cech's return to form - he was sharp in denying Jo and Tim Cahill in the first half - is timely with next Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona looming.
Hiddink will be without the suspended Ashley Cole and must find a replacement at left back who can cope with Lionel Messi - the inexperienced Michael Mancienne has even been mooted - while Ricardo Carvalho is doubtful after aggravating a hamstring injury in a reserve game on Monday night.