News24

Chelsea aim to banish blues

2011-10-31 14:26

Genk - Andre Villas-Boas expects Chelsea to erase the painful memories of their week from hell when his troubled side face Belgian club Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Villas-Boas's team conceded five goals at Stamford Bridge for the first time in 22 years on Saturday as Arsenal enjoyed a remarkable 5-3 victory that left the Blues in turmoil.

Chelsea's nightmare seven days began with last Sunday's 1-0 loss in the west London derby at QPR, a stormy clash that saw Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa sent off and ended with allegations that John Terry racially abused Hoops defender Anton Ferdinand.

The English FA are investigating the accusations, while Villas-Boas also has to explain his caustic comments about referee Chris Foy's performance during the QPR defeat.

There was more misery to come when London rivals Arsenal, previously cast as the Premier League's biggest flops this season, tore Chelsea's defence to shreds thanks to Robin van Persie's hat-trick.

Chelsea are now languishing nine points behind leaders Manchester City after successive league defeats, but Villas-Boas is confident the trip to Belgium will see his team get back on track.

Beating Genk could see Chelsea qualify for the Champions League knockout stages with two Group E games to spare, as long as Valencia do not defeat Bayer Leverkusen in the night's other match.

"We can get in a very, very good position if we can win our game, of course waiting to see what happens in Valencia-Leverkusen," Villas-Boas said. "But we also have a chance of qualifying if Leverkusen win.

"We have to find winning ways straight away in the next competition and then again, when we meet in the Premier League, find the winning ways."

Chelsea demolished Genk 5-0 at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago despite leaving out several senior players and Villas-Boas will consider rotating his team again in Belgium.

Terry was rested for last meeting with Genk and the England captain might be given more time off as he continues to fight to clear his name over the racism allegations.

He looked a distracted figure for much of the Arsenal match and his slip that allowed van Persie to score the Gunners' fourth goal summed up his wretched week.

Villas-Boas must decide whether to recall Drogba, who is currently serving a three-match domestic suspension but is available for European action.

If the striker does not feature on Tuesday, he will not be available again until the Liverpool game on November 20, meaning he would have missed almost a month of club action.

Villas-Boas used the last Genk match to give Fernando Torres a run out in the midst of his own three-game ban and Drogba looks certain to feature at some point in Belgium.

Just as importantly Villas-Boas needs to plug the holes in a leaky defence which has not kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening weekend of the season, their worst run for 10 years.

Villas-Boas was recruited partly to make Chelsea more flamboyant however and he has no intention of discarding his attacking philosophy.

"The philosophy is a personal value and it's a club value and you should never sell it cheaply," he said.

"It's something that makes us all proud and we will stick to this philosophy throughout this league.

"Before this game, we were among the three best defences in the Premier League, so I would argue with anybody that our defensive organisation was a problem before this game.

"We committed mistakes and we will try to evolve and maybe we can improve for the game against Blackburn."

AFP