AVB needs time, says Porto coach

Former assistant insists Chelsea's embattled manager has necessary quality to transform club

Andre Villas-Boas yesterday received more backing from his former club Porto as speculation continued over the Chelsea manager's future.

Villas-Boas, whose attempts to turn the Blues' season around were supported earlier this week by the Porto president, Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, was given words of encouragement by the man who succeeded him at the Estadio do Dragao.

Vitor Pereira, who was Villas-Boas's assistant during Porto's record-breaking, quadruple-winning 2010-2011 season, issued the praise as he prepared his side for tonight's Europa League last-32, first-leg match against Manchester City.

As well as previewing that game in his pre-match press conference, Pereira spoke about his predecessor's troubles at Chelsea, suggesting that Villas-Boas needed to be given time to transform his new club's fortunes.

The Porto coach said: "Andre is a quality coach and will certainly, in time, prove his quality and competence." Pereira's backing came as reports continued to claim that some of Chelsea's players had lost faith in Villas-Boas.

It was suggested yesterday that senior Chelsea squad members were hoping that the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, would once again bring in Guus Hiddink to save the club's season, just as the owner did three years ago. Chelsea have repeatedly maintained that Villas-Boas's position is not under threat, while Hiddink's agent has insisted his client would not comment on whether he would consider returning to Stamford Bridge unless a vacancy arose.

The Dutchman was certainly a popular figure among the players during a caretaker spell in 2009, during which the club lost just one match and won the FA Cup. Villas-Boas, on the other hand, was reportedly challenged openly by members of his squad during frank exchanges at the club's training ground on Sunday.

The former Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari suggested player power was one of the reasons he was sacked and replaced by Hiddink in February 2009, while Pinto da Costa claimed that previous Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's continued contact with his former stars was undermining Villas-Boas.

Abramovich has been far more reluctant to bow to any suggestion of dissent in the ranks since Villas-Boas took charge, giving the Portuguese the green light to revamp an ageing squad.

But the transition has proven a turbulent one and it remains to be seen whether Abramovich will fire another manager if the Blues continue to look in danger of failing to qualify for the lucrative Champions League. The Russian will also be expecting progress in the FA Cup on Saturday, when Chelsea host Birmingham, and it will not go down well if they fail to get past Napoli in the Champions League.

Chelsea's captain, John Terry, is close to a comeback from a knee injury but Ashley Cole remains a major doubt for the FA Cup game with a calf problem that has left him unable to train since last Saturday's Premier League defeat at Everton.

Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea's summer signing, has revealed he wants a loan move to another English club before making his Chelsea debut. The goalkeeper, who joined Atletico Madrid on a season-long loan upon moving to Stamford Bridge from Genk, said: "I think that before going to Chelsea, I have to play one or two years in another English team to discover the football played there.

"After that, we'll see if I am ready to move to Chelsea. It's hard to say now."

There would be no shortage of suitors for Courtois, who has earned rave reviews in Spain. He told a Belgian radio station: "At first it was difficult. When I arrived, I found myself alone at the hotel. I almost wanted to cry. My team-mates helped me. I learnt the Spanish language and all is well now. If Madrid wants me to stay one more season and Chelsea accept, we'll see."

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee