'Jose contact with players undermining Villas-Boas'
Embattled Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is having his work sabotaged by the continued contact of key players with former manager Jose Mourinho, according to Porto president Pinto da Costa.
The man who gave Mourinho and Villas-Boas their big breaks at Porto believes the apprentice's authority is being undermined by the master's communication with his former players.
"He will be successful with Chelsea because his contract isn't just for one year," Da Costa said. "He needs time to mould his own team and he can't do that as long as there are players, as I've heard, who exchange text messages with Mourinho. And Abramovich knows this."
The allegation by Da Costa resonates with reports that dissatisfied players confronted Villas-Boas at a team meeting on Sunday. Several players reportedly voiced their frustration at their manager's tactics and selection.
Villas-Boas (34) worked for Mourinho as an opposition scout during the latter's time at Chelsea but their relationship has become strained since Villas-Boas left Mourinho's back-room staff at Internazionale to forge his own career.
There are still a significant number of Chelsea players who were there under Mourinho, including John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and Petr Cech, and many of them retain a strong bond of loyalty to their former manager.
Da Costa also said he thought Villas-Boas had erred in leaving Porto so early. "He left thinking that Chelsea was a unique opportunity, but I believe that was a mistake because there would have been others," he said.
His former boss is confident that Villas-Boas will be a success at Chelsea if he is given time to effect the reforms he wants to make -- which include the phasing out of the older players -- but fears the sack. "The only thing that will topple Villas-Boas is if he fails to qualify for the Champions League," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)