London: Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas believes his side are still very much in the English title race after Daniel Sturridge's goal earned them a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur here at White Hart Lane.
Sturridge cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor's early strike midway through the first half on Thursday to leave Chelsea 11 points shy of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
John Terry - in his first appearance since being charged with a racially aggravated public order offence - was partly at fault for Adebayor's goal but made a crucial block in injury time to ensure his side finished with a point.
And Villas-Boas saw the performance as evidence his philosophy of introducing an attractive, passing game to Chelsea was starting to produce results.
"In terms of our title challenge, it keeps it alive," Villas-Boas said after a share of the spoils in a London derby against third-placed Tottenham, who remain two points in front of Chelsea.
"The draw punishes us a little bit in terms of the league.
"We are still in it. If we take six points from our next two home fixtures, we are pretty much in it.
"We came to Tottenham who are also title challengers and it is a good point to get. We have been in a worse situation than this and I am sure we can further shorten the distance.
"Today (Thursday) our passing game exploded to wonderful levels. It was fantastic to watch this team play when they find themselves in possession and take opportunities."
The focus was on Terry ahead of the match after the Crown Prosecution Service charged him Wednesday with racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's loss at Loftus Road in October.
But Villas-Boas added: "His performances have increased since the incident. His commitment was never in doubt and his quality and talent is never in doubt.
"He is completely focused to the causes of the football club and his performances have not dropped a single bit."
Spurs were ahead in the eighth minute and Terry was partly at fault, after Sandro took the ball off Sturridge in midfield and sent Gareth Bale on a run down the left.
The Wales international sped toward the byline and just before he crossed the ball into the box, Terry peeled off Adebayor to give him enough space to meet Bale's cross for a close range tap-in.
But Sturridge made amends in the 23rd minute as he turned in Ashley Cole's cross for Chelsea's equaliser.
Both sides had chances to win it late on and afterwards Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was more circumspect than Villas-Boas on his side's title hopes.
Rather than which team would come out on top in May, Redknapp's main concern was an ever-increasing injury list in a busy period of the season.
Rafael van der Vaart was forced off at half time and Redknapp said the injury to the Dutch midfielder could force him into the transfer market in January.
Van der Vaart joined Jermain Defoe, Younes Kaboul and Ledley King on the sidelines, all with hamstring strains.
"We had to change how we played when Rafa came off," Redknapp said. "He did a hamstring again and he'll probably be out for the festive games.
"It was hard work after he went off, because I had to move Luka Modric out wide and that gave Chelsea an extra man in midfield.
"It will possibly dictate what we do in January. If we can get a special someone we feel could make the difference we would do it, but it is just finding that someone. It is not easy."