English Premiership

AVB fine without team's backing

2012-02-16 20:07
Andre Villas-Boas (File)

London - Under-fire Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas declared he doesn't need the support of the entire squad as long as he is backed by owner Roman Abramovich.

A 2-0 loss at Everton on Saturday left Chelsea fifth in the Premier League and out of the Champions League qualification places.

Villas-Boas hauled his underperforming players into the training ground on their day off on Sunday to discuss the team's misfortunes.

Questioned on Thursday about not enjoying the backing of all his players, Villas-Boas said: "That is normal. They don't have to back my project. It's the owner who backs my project."

"I think in the end there are always positives to take out from meetings. Everybody wants to be involved, you have to go face-to-face," he said. "But as tight as things are in the table from fourth to seventh, it will change from now until the end of the season on a weekly basis."

The Portuguese is under increasing pressure having replaced Carlo Ancelotti, who was fired after failing to win a trophy last season despite a league and FA Cup double the previous year. That change of managers cost Chelsea £28 million pounds in compensation, leading to suggestions that Abramovich would be reluctant to ditch his seventh manager in eight years so quickly.

Villas-Boas has been in football management for less than three years, having coached Portuguese teams Academica and FC Porto before being lured to Chelsea.

"I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have," Villas-Boas said. "In the end, that is the objective of getting us the best position possible in the league, plus these two trophies, which we are fighting for."

Chelsea host second-tier club Birmingham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"It will be extremely good for us if we win against Birmingham to put ourselves in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup," Villas-Boas said. "But we need strong progression in the league and to show our strength... we all understand we need to do more, our run of results hasn't been impressive but the responsibility is shared."

Striker Didier Drogba should return next week after being at the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, who lost in the final to Zambia on Sunday.

"Drogba gives us another solution up front," Villas-Boas said. "We've used (Fernando) Torres in all the games since he went away. For the Birmingham game it will be between Torres and (Romelu) Lukaku, and then from then on with Drogba as well. For the type of player he is, he's as strong as anybody."

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