English Premiership

Villas-Boas wary of axe

2011-11-23 14:29
Andre Villas-Boas (File)
London - Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has admitted it is his head on the executioner's block unless his team can improve their results soon, starting at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday in the Champions League.

Villas-Boas' team are top of Group E, two points clear of second-placed Leverkusen, and a win at the BayerArena would put them in the knock-out stages.

Their European situation is in sharp contrast to fifth place in the Premier League, where they are 12 points behind leaders Manchester City, and pressure is mounting on Villas-Boas, who is in his first season at Stamford Bridge.

Sunday's 2-1 Premier League defeat at home to Liverpool was Chelsea's third loss in four league games and the Portuguese manager says although his team is playing well, only improved results will ease the pressure.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich paid Porto 15 million euros to hire Villas-Boas, but the manager says he expects the pressure on him to intensify unless his team start winning again especially as the club has made their worst start in the eight years since the Russian billionaire took over.

"There is no explanation for what we are going through and in circumstances like this, the manager's head is normally called for execution, that is the way it is," said the 34-year-old.

On Tuesday, Villas-Boas was fined £12 000 by the Football Association and warned about his future conduct after being charged over comments made during his team's 1-0 Premier League defeat at Queens Park Rangers on October 23.

Villas-Boas says that defeat, when his team finished with nine men after Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba were sent off, sparked the slump in his team's fortunes.

"The situation is that we were playing fantastically well up until the QPR game, we still played well when we were at nine men, we have also played well against Arsenal (when they lost 5-3) and Liverpool, but not won," he said.

"Football is a game of being in the moment and at the moment we are not winning, we can just worry about the next game."

The Chelsea boss says he expects a tough match from Robin Dutt-coached Leverkusen, who include former Chelsea star and ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack.

Chelsea beat Leverkusen 2-0 at Stamford Bridge when the sides met in September and Villas-Boas expects another tough match.

"Our game against Leverkusen was one of the most interesting we have had so far this season, Robin's team likes to play attacking football," said Villas-Boas.

"They want to get the ball and attack you, both teams had chances, but we ended up finding the opportunity to break their lines."

While Chelsea can still qualify for the knock-out phase with a draw in Leverkusen and another at home to Valencia in a fortnight, Villas-Boas says his side want to win here.

"We are in a good position, of course, a draw wouldn't be bad," he said.

"We can qualify with two draws, but it is not what we are looking for.

"We want to take the initiative and will set out to attack them, we respect them, but they need to win.

"Valencia are expected to beat Genk (on Wednesday in Group E) and surprises can happen, so they will set out to win and so will we."

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