Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Cech rejects player power is hitting Chelsea


Petr Cech has played down suggestions that Chelsea's players openly criticised manager Andre Villas-Boas in front of Roman Abramovich earlier this month.

Some senior players questioned the manager's team selection and tactics in a squad meeting that owner Abramovich also attended following the club's 2-0 defeat to Everton two and a half weeks ago.

Further reports of unrest within the Chelsea camp have emerged since, piling more pressure on the under-fire Portuguese, who admitted for the first time on Monday that he fears for his future at the west London club.

"Everyone has been talking about a meeting between the team and Abramovich," said Cech. "But the truth is elsewhere and the picture of that meeting was distorted."

The London side have won just twice in their last eight matches, although Saturday's 3-0 victory over Bolton moved them to seven points behind third-placed Tottenham.

"The club is under constant media pressure. That's the problem," the goalkeeper added. "There is a lot of speculation and nonsense, but we have to live with it. The mood always derives from results so the mood is better. Tottenham lost at the weekend. We can to get closer and play for third place. I still believe things will turn for the better and our season will be successful."

Robbie Keane, meanwhile, is backing former Liverpool strike-partner Fernando Torres to return to his best after finding himself relegated from the international stage. The Chelsea striker's lack of form prompted the Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to leave him out of his squad for tonight's friendly against Venezuela.

Keane, who played alongside Torres during his short stay at Anfield, is confident the Spaniard will rediscover his touch in front of goal. He said: "Maybe the manager chopping and changing all the time hasn't helped him. There's no question he is certainly low on confidence. But he's a great, great fella and I really wish he turns it around – and I am sure he will."