Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chelsea hierarchy must back me, says manager Andre Villas-Boas

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas says the club's hierarchy should make it clear they back his vision for the Blues' long-term future. Speaking on the day before the club meets Napoli in the Champions League, Villas-Boas insists he is restructuring the club to "sustain" their success.

Villas-Boas maintains that he has the full backing of owner Roman Abramovich. But the Blues boss said: "These words would be more valuable coming from the top. I cannot keep saying them."

Meanwhile, Chelsea have been made aware of the alleged racist abuse of members of their squad when they arrived at the team hotel in Naples.

"If any members of our team or staff are subjected to racist abuse we would find that wholly unacceptable and it would be reflected in our conversations with Uefa," a Chelsea spokesman said.

Villas-Boas has presided over the club's least successful period since Russian billionaire Abramovich took control of the club in 2003, having not won a Premier League game since 14 January.

The West London side currently lie fifth in the top tier, out of the League Cup and facing an FA Cup fifth round replay at St Andrew's after being held 1-1 by Championship side Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

But, despite having enjoyed just one win in six matches, Villas-Boas has issued a reminder that he is on a 'three-year project' at Stamford Bridge. He has already spent around £76m on seven players in his first season with five of those signings aged under 24.

"In terms of the results this year," added Villas-Boas. "The speculation is normal given the cultural past of this football club, but you have to understand that there's a different perspective now.

"We had a three-year project to change not only the team, but the culture and structure of the club.

"There's a lot we needed to do, a lot of plans. That's why I'm excited about the future.

"Having said that, we have to build a team to win trophies.

"We're no longer in the Carling Cup and don't have a chance to win the title. But we are still confident we can do well in the Champions League and the FA Cup." The club's joint top marksman Daniel Sturridge had insisted earlier in the day that they are not "a divided unit".

"We are a family and we've got a good unit going," the 22-year-old told Chelsea TV. "Maybe we will see that in the next few games."

Ahead of Tuesday night's last 16 first-leg tie against Napoli, Sturridge added: "They have some great individuals, as well as a good team. "But we have the same and we are not going to worry about what they have got.

"We have to go out there with the attitude that they have got to worry about what we have got." Fellow Blues striker Didier Drogba said: "We feel that no one really believes in us.

"We are going to show we deserve to be here. It's a top game and we are going to have to get a good result." Drogba denied that he gave a half-time "team talk" to Chelsea when they were a goal down in Saturday's FA Cup tie against Birmingham before coming back to draw, thanks to a Sturridge header.

"The manager made the speech at half-time," said the Ivory Coast international. "He has leaders in the squad and we are here to help him.

"We wanted to gee the team up at half-time and nothing more." Napoli will have to do without coach Walter Mazzarri, who must serve a two-match touchline ban for pushing over Villarreal's Brazilian striker Nilmar in a touchline spat in the group stages.

Mazzarri predicts that Chelsea's European experience makes the Italian side underdogs. "We will face a team who have played more than 100 Champions League matches," said the 50-year-old Napoli coach.

"We are proud to play this match but I don't want to hear anyone saying we are the favourite. We can find a result only if we play a great match.

"All the team has to play not only a special game, but the perfect game. It will be important for us that Chelsea will not score any goals at the Stadio San Paolo."

Source : www.bbc.co.uk

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