Blues only tie with Aston Villa
Mourinho's team had the majority of chances in Birmingham on Tuesday. But the match ended 0-0, and Chelsea remained six points behind United, which drew 2-2 at Newcastle on Monday.
In fact, Chelsea won only one of its four games in 11 days over Christmas and New Year's. Against Villa it failed to score in a league game for the first time all season, and despite that it also kept a clean sheet after letting in two goals in each of its first three holiday games.
"Six points at the end of this disgraceful period is not bad," Chelsea Manager José Mourinho told Sky Sports, the British agency. "The way the team fought and the way they have behaved in the difficult moments we are living, I have a lot of hope for the second part of the season."
Indeed, after 22 matches, United leads with 54 points. Chelsea has 48. Liverpool is third with 40, one point ahead of Arsenal which thrashed struggling Charlton, 4-0, although all its goals came with its London rival down to 10 men.
Striker Didier Drogba should have put Chelsea ahead, but the striker mistimed his shot. Ashley Cole directed a first-half header into goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly's hands. Midfielder Lampard put his shot from inside the penalty area over the bar.
We must consider that Chelsea, which has been without center-half John Terry and goalkeeper Petr Cech, lost another defender, Khalid Boulahrouz, to an ankle injury.
Coach Mourinho admitted he would not rush Terry back despite having no center backs available for the FA Cup third- round match against Macclesfield on Saturday. Ricardo Carvalho is suspended after receiving a fifth yellow card this season.