AVB: I don't care what the players think of me

Chelsea manager insists Abramovich backs his project... even if the first team aren't so sure

Andre Villas-Boas said last night that he does not care what his players think of him, and that he retains the support of Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich. "They don't have to back my project," Villas-Boas said of his players. "It's the owner who backs my project." The Chelsea manager said that he enjoys Abramovich's "full backing".

After the 2-0 defeat at Everton last Saturday, Villas-Boas called his players in on Sunday, their day off, for a candid meeting. But any discord does not worry the manager, who insisted he was "sure" that Abramovich listens to him ahead of the squad.

"I'm really not concerned about it," Villas-Boas said of players' plots. "I have the full backing of the owner, and it's the owner [who makes] the decision on how further he wants to go with the running of the actual project."

There is certainly an acceptance from Villas-Boas that not all of the Chelsea players will buy into his project. "That is normal," he said. "The players don't put themselves behind the project because they don't know what the project is."

The players should realise, though, that current performances are not good enough. "I think everybody understands that we need more," Villas-Boas explained. "The running of results has not been impressive, so responsibility must be shared with players and management and that's exactly how it went."

Results have certainly not been impressively recently. Chelsea have won just two of their last 10 Premier League games, and none in their last four. They are now fifth, behind Arsenal on goals scored. Newcastle United are just one point behind them.

Villas-Boas warned, though, that it was the players whose futures were currently at stake. "I think players compete in the end, in the season, for their place and for their place towards the future in the team," he said. "So if you want to be the future in the team, you are competing to win over something against your colleague."

And next year's team might well be rather different from this year's. "I have told you that we have set out this team to try to win four trophies, believing in this team," he said. "Next year, it's another one because there are different ongoing situations regarding contracts which will have to be addressed, so that means different changes. Two players have already departed and further will depart in the future and won't make part of the project."

This project comes from the owner, and Villas-Boas is sure he will be able to continue its implementation next year. "I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have," he said.

Villas-Boas insisted he was entirely comfortable with Abramovich's intensifying attention. "I think the owner is entitled to do whatever he wants," he said, claiming he would be relaxed if Abramovich wanted to come into the Chelsea dressing room after games.

Would more vocal support from Abramovich make his life easier? "One of the most funny things in football is the vote of confidence," the Portuguese said. "Whenever somebody gives the vote of confidence, it is the end. So it would not make any difference. You don't want that."

If there is one other potential problem for Villas-Boas, it is the supporters. The Chelsea fans at Goodison Park were unimpressed and let him know it. "They are the essence of football, if they demand, you have to respond," he said. "You have to be in tune to their demands."

Villas-Boas accepted there is only one way to make a point. "We need results really to put ourselves back on track," he admitted. Chelsea, well short in the Premier League, have two shots at cup competitions. Tomorrow lunchtime they host Birmingham City in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and next Tuesday night they travel to Napoli for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Chelsea have demonstrated their commitment to relocating to Earls Court by lodging objections to plans to use the site of the Earls Court exhibition centre for housing. Representatives of Abramovich said that a failure to include a new stadium in plans would not be the best use of the land. Earls Court will be demolished after it hosts volleyball at this summer's Olympics. Chelsea believe a stadium would be the best replacement.

"The provision of a world-class sporting venue attracting visitors and media from across the world to Earls Court and west Kensington should be clearly included in the [planning] principles and policies," said Stuart Robinson, Chelsea's property adviser. "A world-class sporting facility would build in the legacy of the Earls Court 'brand' in combination with the national and international 'brand' of [Chelsea FC]."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea