Andre Villas-Boas has no problems with Rafael Benitez

 

Andre Villas-Boas has no problem with Rafael Benitez despite claims the Spaniard is being lined up to replace him as Chelsea manager.

Villas-Boas' future has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks after his team dropped to fifth in the Barclays Premier League and edged close to a Champions League exit with a 3-1 defeat to Napoli in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday night.

Benitez is out of work following his sacking at Inter Milan in December 2010 and has been mentioned as a possible short-term successor to Villas-Boas should Blues owner Roman Abramovich dismiss the Portuguese.

Benitez's agent played down stories linking the Spaniard with Stamford Bridge as nothing but "media speculation" yesterday, but the man himself is yet to come forward to publicly deny any interest in a move to London.

Despite this, Villas-Boas insists he has no problem with the former Valencia manager and claims he would be honoured to meet up with the man who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.

"It would be an honour for me (to meet him)," the 34-year-old Chelsea boss said. "I have no problem with that.

"We share a common friend but I have never met him.

"We were going to have dinner three or four months ago but we didn't. It would be fantastic to have dinner with him.

"He is one of the most successful managers in world football."

Villas-Boas came out fighting over suggestions his job was on the line yesterday.

The Portuguese maintained he retained the full backing of Abramovich despite admitting that he had to explain his team selection for the Napoli game to the club's Russian owner.

He also denied reports of in-fighting within the Chelsea camp and boldly predicted that his team could still win the Champions League and finish third in the Premier League despite there being only 13 top-flight games of the season remaining.

Villas-Boas hopes to embark upon a strong finish to the season - starting at home against Bolton tomorrow - but he candidly revealed yesterday that he thinks teams no longer fear coming to Stamford Bridge like they did under former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

"There is no fear factor at the Bridge," Villas-Boas said.

"I don't know if there ever was. There is a fear factor at a couple of grounds in this country - Anfield and Old Trafford. It was a difficult place to come under Jose Mourinho but there is no fear factor of emotion."

Chelsea will be without captain John Terry tomorrow after he was ruled out for at least four weeks following knee surgery.

Fernando Torres missed training yesterday through illness but should be fit for the visit of the Trotters and Juan Mata is available despite suffering a suspected broken finger against Napoli.

Jose Bosingwa came off after 12 minutes in Italy with a muscle problem and is out of tomorrow's game.

PA

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
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

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015