AVB launches defence of his career

 

Andre Villas-Boas yesterday launched a defiant defence of his position as Chelsea manager on the eve of tonight's Champions League tie with Napoli but hinted that he would like someone in the club's hierarchy to come out to say so publicly.

The Chelsea manager, who has won just one of his last six games in all competitions, said that tonight's game in Naples would not be decisive in his future and he would still enjoy the full backing of the club. His press conference at the San Paolo stadium was watched by chairman Bruce Buck and chief executive Ron Gourlay although it is thought owner Roman Abramovich will not be at the game.

When it was put to him that tonight's game could be career-defining, Villas-Boas replied: "That's your conclusion, no?" He added: "These words [that he will not be sacked in the near future] would be more valuable coming from the top to you guys, I know. I cannot keep saying them, but as the voice of the club, I will continue to perpetuate this message because this is what we believe in.

"We have great belief in what we will do next year, setting up a team to bring us the biggest amount of trophies we can have. But that doesn't take away from the responsibilities for this year. In terms of the results this year, the speculation is normal given the cultural past of this football club, but you have to understand that there's a different perspective now.

"On that policy, you'll have to ask my superiors. I have the full confidence for the owner, I am here to do my job. And my job is for this year and the next two years."

John Terry is still a "major doubt" for the game with his knee problem, Villas-Boas said. The Chelsea captain played a restricted role in training at the stadium last night. As for Ashley Cole, who has a calf injury, Villas-Boas said he had "more chance" of playing but was still not a certainty. There were shameful scenes outside the Chelsea team hotel in the port area of Naples yesterday when a group of around 30 Napoli supporters gathered and directed racist chants towards the black players in the squad who were having lunch on the first floor of the Grand Hotel Vesuvio.

The incident takes place just days after Napoli asked their supporters to treat the tie with "enthusiasm, warmth and peaceful sporting passion". In response last night, Chelsea issued a statement condemning "any form of discriminatory behaviour [which is] totally abhorrent and we believe it has no place in society".

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