Football: `I will play on' insists Vialli

Chelsea's leader is swift to counter speculation over his dual role after defeat in Europe

GIANLUCA VIALLI was yesterday putting a brave face on defeat in the European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final by Real Mallorca and trying to end confusion about his own role by insisting that he would continue playing as well as managing the team.

There was widespread surprise when Vialli's name did not even appear on the list of seven Chelsea substitutes before a 1-0 defeat in Palma on Thursday night put them out of the competition on a 2-1 aggregate. He had previously kept his best efforts this season for Cup competitions, scoring nine times in 11 games, but drawing a blank in each of his seven Premiership matches.

There was not an orthodox striker on the bench as Chelsea tried to retrieve the goal headed in by Leo Biagini after 15 minutes, following slack marking at a set-piece.

Vialli's comments immediately after the game - "I was not fully match fit. Sometimes it's better if I concentrate on being a manager" - had lead to speculation that he would do just that as early as next season. The Chelsea hierarchy, having pushed Ruud Gullit to the brink 14 months ago with their demands that he do the same, would presumably have had no problem with Vialli following suit. Yesterday, however, he said: "I've got no problems carrying on with both roles. Sometimes it's demanding, but it's always exciting. If you want to be a good manager, you have to realise it's difficult being part of all games.

"I don't like being a substitute. I'm not the sort of player who can come on and turn a match. I need to be on for 90 minutes. I rarely score coming on as a substitute. I'll have to start thinking about quitting sometime because I can't play till I'm 37 or 38. But I want to play next season, definitely."

Vialli felt that the run of the ball did not favour his team on Thursday, when in the last 20 minutes Argentina's goalkeeper Carlos Roa touched Roberto Di Matteo's powerful drive on to the bar and Dennis Wise failed to put the bite on Mallorca with a soft header.

The damage, however, had been done at Stamford Bridge, where for the third time in four home legs Chelsea failed to convert an abundance of scoring opportunities. Against the limited Scandinavian opposition provided by Helsingborg and FC Copenhagen they managed only a single goal, leading to unnecessarily anxious away legs, while Real, renowned for their mean defence and swift counterattacking, were allowed a draw and an away goal from the only chance they created in 90 minutes.

Now Vialli must pick up his "chaps" with immediate effect, starting in the Premiership at Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow, just the sort of game to sort out which of them have the heart for five more battles this season. A big haul of points could yet earn the runners-up position, which would not only be Chelsea's best finish apart from the championship year of 1955, but would avoid the necessity to pre-qualify for their first shot at the Champions" League.

If a mood of self-pity takes hold, the priority will become to prevent Leeds, who are five points behind, from beating them to third place and ruining a season's work.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine