Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 3: André Villas-Boas opts to look ahead

André Villas-Boas is hoping for a better 2012 after he watched his side stumble to their third home league defeat of the season

Premier League, 31 December 2011, Stamford Bridge
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Chelsea
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Aston Villa

André Villas-Boas preferred to look forward to the new year after Chelsea suffered a shock defeat by Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as Didier Drogba netted from the penalty spot but Stephen Ireland’s close-range finish levelled the game soon after.

Chelsea pressed for a winner in the second half but Villa struck on the break as Stiliyan Petrov and Darren Bent both beat Petr Cech in the final seven minutes to hand Villa an unlikely victory.

“Hopefully 2012 brings us better results,” Villas-Boas said. “We need to improve on a couple of aspects and we know what they are. Villa punished us well in the final stages of the game.”

Asked whether he feels his side can still win the league this season, Villas-Boas replied: “I don’t think so. It is fantasy.

“Our reality at the moment is a fourth-placed finish and that is not good enough. We have to continue to play for the best possible finish.”

Match-winner Ireland caused controversy on Friday when he posted a picture of himself smoking what appeared to be a sheesha pipe on Twitter which led Alex McLeish to advise his midfielder to not draw attention to himself.

But the Villa manager was full of praise for the 25-year-old after his impressive performance at The Bridge.

“He must have caught everybody’s eye today, he was excellent,” said McLeish. “We don’t expect him to be an enforcer but the Villa fans expect to seen him closing down and his reading of the game was reminiscent of his Man City form and he has to be like that in every game.”

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