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
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower