The Sports Matrix: Tuesday 21 February 2012


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The Independent Online

AVB insists he is safe ahead of crucial Napoli tie

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted that his position was safe last night, on the eve of his side's crucial last 16 first leg tie away at Napoli, for which John Terry is a "major doubt".

After winning one of his last six games in all competitions, Villas-Boas is under pressure, but he said yesterday he has a long-term job to do, although he implied he would like more public board support.

When asked if this would be a definitive night in his career, 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."

Villas-Boas believes that his rebuilding work will be justified. "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."

Chelsea captain Terry's participation is in doubt owing to a knee injury, although Ashley Cole has a better chance of playing. MORE

Mourinho: We can win despite cold

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho hopes his side can overcome conditions at CSKA Moscow tonight: "We have to be stronger than the conditions. A synthetic surface is not the same as a natural surface and -15C is not the same as 10C, but our mentality is strong." MORE

City make Porto racism dossier

Manchester City have had to find their own evidence to show Uefa that their players were racially abused in last week's Europa League game at Porto. City have compiled a collection of mobile phone videos to show Porto fans making monkey chants. MORE

Liverpool told to apologise to Evra

Liverpool have been told by a group of local and national black leaders that they must apologise to Patrice Evra, having contributed to the "incitement of racism in football and the wider society" with their stance on the Luis Suarez affair. MORE

Arsenal fans ask questions of board

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust is demanding to know whether Arsenal's cash reserves are available to Arsène Wenger, or if they are being held back in case Arsenal miss out on the Champions League. The AST also called Arsenal's wage spending "inefficient". MORE

Navratilova claim 'disrespectful'

Caroline Wozniacki has responded to Martina Navratoliva's saying that "nobody" thinks she is "true" world No 1. "I have lost a little bit of respect. Because I respect what they have achieved," Wozniacki said. "That would be disrespectful. She was unbelievable." MORE

Pakistan coach admits fatigue

The last one day international of England's series with Pakistan starts today, with Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan admitting to fatigue: "Every home series is an away series, and they have been away for a long time, I don't think you can take homesickness away." MORE

Jones: We must be 'clinical' in England

The Wales forward Ryan Jones has warned they will have to be at their best to beat England on Saturday. "Twickenham's a tough place to go," he said. "If you haven't experienced it, you don't know what's coming. We will need to be clinical and disciplined." MORE

Barritt: Up to us to stop Welsh backs

England centre Brad Barritt, challenged by Manu Tuilagi for his place, is not worried about this weekend. "The Welsh backs are big but they're still people with two legs and, as they can't run without their legs, it's up to us to cut them down." MORE

Feature: Nick Clark

Naples is a city whose heart beats football and whose blood runs sky-blue. For many Neapolitans, Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli is life. And the generation of Edinson Cavani and Co has brought hope to this old giant. MORE