Chelsea still have a chance of finishing third, claims Villas-Boas
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas refuses to be unsettled by speculation over his future and is confident of a top-four finish
A defiant Andre Villas-Boas insisted he is not affected by the constant speculation over his Chelsea future, before boldly declaring that he is still harbouring hopes of a third-place finish in the Premier League.
The Blues were condemned to their ninth defeat of the season against Napoli in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday to heighten the pressure on the Chelsea manager.
But the Portuguese coach, who revealed he held talks with Roman Abramovich’s representatives in the aftermath of the loss, remains convinced that his side can turn around a 3-1 deficit and book their place in the quarter-finals in the return leg at Stamford Bridge.
“[The speculation] doesn’t affect me at all. Of course, we are disappointed with the result but there is a second leg to play and the full extent of the morale will be known by then,” Villas-Boas said on Thursday.
“I have spoken with the people near to him [Abramovich] who are of course disappointed with the result and were asking questions about how we set up the team, which were duly explained.
“We shared ideas regarding the events that happened in the game and how they happened, but there is still 90 minutes to play and we strongly believe that we can turn the tie around.”
Villas-Boas’s side currently reside in fifth place in the Premier League table, level on points with Arsenal in fourth – and he admits a top-four finish is the minimum requirement this season.
“There is a big battle between fourth and seventh,” he continued. “The objective is to limit the damages and to get to fourth position and maybe third eventually.
“If Arsenal win against Tottenham and we win [against Bolton], we are only seven points behind with one game against them to play – so let’s wait and see.”
The Chelsea boss came under intense scrutiny for his team selection for the defeat in Naples after he opted to leave a host of senior players out of the starting line-up.
Villas-Boas declared he has “no regrets” about his decisions but admits he understands why some more experienced players have grown frustrated at a lack of first-team action.
“You don’t expect them to be jumping up and down with excitement when a manager doesn’t use them for most of the games,” he added. “But the most important thing is the team principals and objectives. The club is more important than any individual.
“I don’t have any regrets regarding the team selection. It’s the team selection that I feel, at that moment, [was] completely right.
“I would always have started that game with a second striker which was Mata behind Didier [Drogba] – and the team was well set out.”