Monday 23 October 2017

Chelsea boss Villas-Boas says he has full backing of Abramovich

ANDRE Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, has insisted he has the backing of club owner Roman Abramovich and his players following a string of defeats.

Villas-Boas shrugged off the mounting pressure on him following Chelsea's worst start to a campaign since Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Speculation is rife Villas-Boas could be sacked if he fails to arrest a slump that has seen Chelsea slide out of the Premier League top four and in danger of failing to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

There have also been reports of player unrest at the tactical changes made by the 34-year-old.

Villas-Boas, though, said that he had spoken to Abramovich following Wednesday's 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen, and had been given the Russian's full backing. Asked if Abramovich had promised to give him time to turn things around, he said: "Yes."

Villas-Boas refused to go into more detail about their conversation but added: "Everybody wants to get out of a situation like this."

The Portuguese added that reports claiming that there had been angry exchanges between players and staff in a meeting on Thursday were untrue.

"Not critical meetings, no animosity, not insults here and there, no critique whatsoever regarding what we are doing, no doubts whatsoever regarding what we are doing," he said.

"Self-confidence and self-belief is what we need now and everybody wants to get it. That thing only comes with wins.

"The philosophy will be the last thing to die at this club.

Asked what he thought had gone wrong in what had been a run of four defeats from seven games, Villas-Boas said: "When you are hyped up emotionally and when you have more confidence, things go better for you.

"A negative streak of results can be explained by emotional states and it could be just that.

"So we need to find the right emotional stimulus, plus the right balance in terms of what we do to get the results that we want.

"It could be just around the corner."

Three of those defeats all came late on in matches and Villas-Boas added: "There is the so-called Fergie time and Man United seems very successful in making the most out of that time.

"In football, you just have to get the focus right in those last minutes."

The Portuguese admitted Chelsea were in a "life and death" situation in the Champions League and the same could be said about their Premier League challenge.

Failure to beat Wolves could see them drop to seventh place by the end of this weekend, although victory might send them as high as third.

"Every game gives you an opportunity to get back on track and that's exactly our focus," said Villas-Boas of a game in which he will be under more scrutiny than ever.

But he added: "The spotlight is something I that I don't think is disturbing to me.

"It doesn't disturb me whatsoever.

"It's not about me as an individual, it's about my group of players and this football club."

"It's a thing that makes technical staff and players very, very proud."

Villas-Boas also rubbished suggestions his lack of experience necessitated the appointment of an older coach to work alongside him, such as Guus Hiddink.

"I don't agree with that," he said, insisting he and his current staff would solve Chelsea's problems.

"I don't solve problems on my own. I solve them with my group of people and my group of players.

"I'm not a religious person, so I just hold on to my self-belief and the belief in my players' talents."

Chelsea's mental strength was also questioned this week by former midfielder Michael Ballack.

Villas-Boas said; "Michael is always very self-opinionated. I disagree with him. He doesn't live in this dressing room.’’.

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