English Premiership

Villas-Boas need Blues to fire

2011-10-14 11:23
Andre Villas-Boas (File)

London - Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has called on his team to shake off the after-effects of the international break and maintain their recent good form against Everton on Saturday.

The Blues turned on the style to record heavy victories over Swansea and Bolton in their last two games, and Villas-Boas is keen for his team to maintain that momentum against the Merseysiders at Stamford Bridge.

"The most important thing when an international break happens is for you to get into winning mode straight away," Villas-Boas said.

"I don't think it really breaks a winning streak because it's the nature of the calendar and you cannot avoid it, but you have to get into winning mode straight away."

Everton have proved to be awkward opponents for Chelsea in recent seasons and have not lost a league match at Stamford Bridge since 2006, recording five consecutive draws.

"Everton is looking for the sixth game unbeaten coming to the Bridge. We have to be alert and it is going to be a hard battle," Villas-Boas cautioned.

"Everton were on a very good run in my opinion, they lost against Liverpool but had they won they would be up challenging for the top with one game in hand.

"So they are in a good situation and once again proving that (manager) David Moyes's work is something fantastic."

Saturday's match will also be the first opportunity for Chelsea's fans to give a large-scale show of support - or opposition - to proposals to move the club to a new purpose-built 60 000-capacity stadium.

So far the plans have met with a lukewarm response, but Villas-Boas has urged fans to take encouragement from the experience of his former club Porto eight years ago.

"When Porto left the old stadium to go into the new stadium - the Dragao - nobody liked the name, nobody liked the site, nobody liked the stadium, and nobody liked the idea of moving," said Villas-Boas.

"Because the historic presence of the old stadium on that site meant something enormous for the fans but if you go back to Porto now, there is not one single person who remembers the old stadium.

"Everybody is in love with the new stadium. It's a beautiful stadium, it's a magnificent site and everybody is happy with the move.

"Because it took us into the future, brought us more revenue in the end, and made us play in a magnificent stadium."

Moyes is likely to deploy a defensive formation as striker Victor Anichebe remains on the sidelines with a groin problem.

That is likely to see Tim Cahill, the Australia international, used as a lone forward, a role he carried out to good effect in similar circumstances at Manchester City in September.

Everton stifled Roberto Mancini's expensively-assembled team for three quarters of that match before being beaten 2-0 and Cahill claimed his team-mates enjoy nothing better than attempting to upset the odds.

"When we are up against it we seem to shine a bit and try and fight our way out of a corner - the main thing for us it to keep the unity and keep the strength on the pitch," he said.

"We need to have the determination and grit to go to a place like Chelsea and get the right result. We know they've been banging in the goals left, right and centre but we need to focus on our strengths.

"It's exciting - Chelsea are one of the biggest teams in the country if not the world and for us it's a great challenge to go there and put in a great performance."

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