Friday 24 March 2017

Andre Villas-Boas: I do not need the support of Chelsea players ... Abramovich

CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas has said he only needs the support of owner Roman Abramovich to carry out his duties and does not require the full backing of his squad.

Media reports have suggested a row broke out between the coaching staff and players when they met up at the training ground the day after last Saturday's disappointing 2-0 defeat at Everton, which Villas-Boas described as Chelsea's worst performance of the season.

Asked whether he still had the support of his players, Villas-Boas, speaking ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fifth round match against Birmingham City, suggested it was irrelevant and that he was safe in the knowledge that Abramovich still believed in his plans.

"They don't have to back my project, only the owner needs to back my project," he said. "I think the owner has full trust in me and we’ll continue to progress with the ideas that we have.

"In the end, we have the objective of getting the best position possible in the league. It would be extremely good for us if we win against Birmingham to put ourselves in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup."

Following reports that Villas-Boas was challenged by senior members of his squad last weekend, former Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari suggested player power was one of the reasons he was sacked and replaced by Guus Hiddink three years ago.

Dismissing the suggestion or a row, Villas-Boas said: "There was a meeting of technical staff and players, nothing dramatic. Everybody understands we need more (than we are giving) and responsibility for this must be shared between the players and management.

"We are trying had to improve results. I think our fans deserve a reaction from us. We’re not happy with the current results and we want to give the fans something to cheer about because it hasn’t been happening for us. So we will focus on trying to get the performances right.”

Meanwhile, amid suggestions that his authority at Chelsea is being undermined by members of his squad continuing to keep in contact with former manager José Mourinho, Villas-Boas added: "I think it’s normal.

"I have emotional attachment to the people I’ve managed in Académica and Porto. I text them, and they text back.

"I think it’s pretty normal for managers to have relationships with players they’ve managed before. I have no problem with it."

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