Roman demands answers over Villas-Boas's line-up

Pressure mounts as Chelsea owner asks why Lampard and Cole were left out

Andre Villas-Boas was asked to provide an explanation of his unexpected team selection to Roman Abramovich in the wake of Chelsea's 3-1 Champions League defeat to Napoli on Tuesday night.

Villas-Boas met with Michael Emenalo, the club's technical director, as part of the inquest into the 3-1 defeat that left the Premier League club facing a daunting challenge in the second leg at Stamford Bridge if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.

Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, wasn't present at Stadio San Paolo to witness the latest disappointing result in a run that has seen Villas-Boas' team drop out of the top four of the Premier League and be held at home in the FA Cup by Birmingham City – all played out against a backdrop of reports of growing player discontent.

He has, however, become a more visible figure at the club this month, becoming a regular visitor at the club's Cobham training ground and speaking to both manager and players in the wake of the recent Premier League defeat at Everton that prompted Villas-Boas to call his squad in for extra training the following day. And the manager acknowledged the questions posed by Emenalo about the game and the manager's decision to name experienced players such as Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard among his substitutes came directly from the owner himself, confirming the level of scrutiny being applied by his employer.

"He is disappointed about the result and asking questions about how we set up the team and they were duly explained," said the manager. "Again, we shared ideas regarding what happened in the game but we still have 90 minutes to play and we strongly believe we can turn the tie around."

Asked who was posing the questions, Villas-Boas said: "The owner." Adding: "I spoke to the people close to the owner to transmit the message, people like Emenalo. That is the normal way we communicate. I see it as normal. He just wants to know the thought process."

The owner's track record of impatience means focus has been trained on Villas-Boas' position, particularly as the Portuguese is the only one of the seven managers employed by Abramovich to enjoy a win rate of less than 50 per cent.

Villas-Boas, though, maintained yesterday he retains the full backing of his employer, dismissing reports Rafael Benitez had been lined up to replace him, later denied by Benitez's agent and Chelsea, by claiming he would like to go for dinner with the Liverpool manager. "My assurance is my work and his [Abramovich's] words and my project for the following seasons. I don't ask every day on the phone 'am I going to be here tomorrow?'"

And while he admits to making some mistakes since succeeding Carlo Ancelotti, the manager refuses to count his team selection in Naples as one of them. "No, I don't have any regrets regarding team selection," he said. "I did the best for the team and it was the selection I felt was completely right."

Anything less than victory against Bolton at home tomorrow will only add to the pressure on a manager who faces his most difficult period of the season without his injured captain and with question marks over his relationship with at least two other senior players.

Villas-Boas maintains he remains on good terms with Lampard and Cole whilst admitting they were less than happy at being omitted from the starting line-up but conceded the loss of John Terry for at least six weeks with a knee problem couldn't have come at a worse time. "We badly miss him. It is a massive loss. A leader and a great performer even through adversity."

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
news

As anti-Semitic attacks rise, Grant Feller re-evaluates his identity

Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
people
Life and Style
food and drink

Savoury patisserie is a thing now

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
news

Meet the primary school where every day is National Poetry Day

News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?