Villas-Boas rants at 'comic' Neville

Chelsea manager goes on the attack again against 'ridiculous' pundit

His voice cracking with exasperated rage, Andre Villas-Boas escalated his war of words with the media yesterday, railing against Chelsea's perceived treatment at the hands of biased television pundits, scandal-mongering managers and, in particular, Gary Neville, the "comic and ridiculous" Manchester United defender-turned-Sky analyst rapidly becoming the Portuguese's bête noir.

Villas-Boas had taken the chance after his team's impressive 3-0 victory over Valencia on Tuesday night to suggest that the result had served as a "slap in the face" to all those critics who had participated in a campaign of "continuous persecution" of Chelsea over the last two months, a period in which the 34-year-old had overseen five defeats in 10 games.

At his club's Cobham training ground yesterday lunchtime, though, after appearing relaxed for much of his weekly press briefing, Villas-Boas went a step further, singling out Neville for particularly vituperative treatment in response to a number of comments made after the Premier League defeat to Liverpool last month and before Tuesday's Champions League tie.

"Comic criticism, and lack of in-depth criticism from top ex-professionals, when they take the route to the ridiculous, I think I have a word to say," said Villas-Boas. "Most people don't even bother with what they say. But if they opt for the ridiculous, I have to defend myself and my players. I have to be aggressive, I think that is fair.

"Most of these people have a past related to a single club, their favourite club, which in the end brings a likely biased position in their opinion-making. When they take the option of the ridiculous, it is unfair. You cannot approach a top Brazil central defender saying he is commanded by a kid with a PlayStation [as Neville did]. That is ridiculous. Be careful what you are saying. They are the most important team in the world. He is one of the best central defenders in the world.

"I know Chelsea have these people – maybe fewer – but you cannot be a top defender like he was, a top Manchester United defender like he has been, and take a ridiculous route. I would say this to his face with pleasure. You cannot speculate about Chelsea's dressing room [as Neville did before the Valencia tie]. What does he know about our dressing room? Does he even know how to get here [to Cobham]? Does he even know where Cobham is? You cannot speculate or invent, based on informants or speculation. I was watching television [when he said it]. I was gobsmacked."

Neville's analysis of Chelsea's fixture with Manchester City on Monday night, given Villas-Boas's evident fury, will no doubt make interesting viewing. The suspension of Luiz – thanks to a booking sustained for a foul on Demba Ba at Newcastle for which their manager Alan Pardew felt he should have been dismissed – does at least mean there will be no repeat of his criticism of the Brazilian. The loss of his central defender, though, clearly still rankles.

"Nobody focused on the fact that maybe Ba is offside on the challenge," he said. "Everybody opted to give him the red card straightaway. Alan Pardew made a big scandal out of it, but the guy is offside. And this is a manager who got a [dubious] penalty to draw 1-1 at Old Trafford making a big scandal out of it. Maybe the linesman should have done his work and maybe Pardew was lucky – he even got a free-kick out of it, and I got a yellow card and a player suspended. Maybe I should have got the card rescinded because the linesman did not give an offside."

Villas-Boas's impassioned outburst could, no doubt, be taken as proof that the Chelsea manager is starting to feel the strain of a season which he admits remains on the brink. Defeat to the Premier League leaders – and the country's "media darlings" – on Monday would, he acknowledges, in all reality mean "there is at least one team less in the running" for the title.

There were also comments that could be interpreted as signs of his increasing defensiveness. His admission that the Chelsea team he has produced in the last week in order to arrest the club's slide is not "the Chelsea we are creating, for sure" was one, as was his suggestion that he agrees with Didier Drogba's assessment that the striker can continue at the highest level for two more years.

"The club have to agree that players who perform and the players who should continue," he said, revealing that talks over a new contract for the Ivorian – whose existing deal expires this summer and who had been expected to depart the club – are ongoing.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?