Manchester derby won’t be decisive, insists Chelsea boss

Chelsea boss says Sunday's Manchester derby at Old Trafford won't have a significant impact on the title race

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta at Cobham
andre villas-boas
Villas-Boas celebrated his 34th birthday last week Photo: The Sport Review

andre villas-boas

Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas has played down the significance of Sunday’s Manchester derby in the Premier League title race.

The Blues travel to Queens Park Rangers on Sunday afternoon and could move into second place with a win, depending on the result at Old Trafford.

But Villas-Boas believes it is too early in the season for any single game to have a significant impact on the destination of this year’s title – and he has called on his side to focus on claiming three points against Neil Warnock’s side.

“It’s too early to be a real opportunity,” Villas-Boas told a news conference at Chelsea’s training ground.

“If this would happen with these distances between the teams in March or April I would say it is a big opportunity, but anything that happens for the Manchester clubs won’t dictate what’s going to happen [at the end of the season].

“Things have changed dramatically in a couple of weeks – we’ve been five points away from United and now we are just one point away. There is still no pattern in the way the Premier League table is going to behave in the future.”

He added: “[The game at Old Trafford] is unpredictable in my opinion. The result is indifferent – we’ll just let them compete and see what happens.

“What is most important for us this weekend, if we really want to shorten the gap, is to get the three points. Without us doing that, nothing that happens that will play a part.”

Meanwhile, the Chelsea boss confirmed that midfielder Ramires will play no part in Sunday’s game due to the knee injury he suffered in the win over Everton – but the Brazilian could return in time for the Carling Cup trip to Goodison Park on Wednesday.

Striker Fernando Torres will serve the final instalment of his three-game suspension, while Ashley Cole is fit to play despite being substituted at half-time in Wednesday’s win over Genk.

Audio: Villas-Boas on the Manchester derby and Olympic football

Andre Villas-Boas on the Manchester derby and Olympic football (mp3)

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