Chelsea must focus on the League before Europe, says Villas-Boas
Saturday 13 August 2011
Andre Villas-Boas begins his career as a Premier League manager tomorrow when he takes his Chelsea side to Stoke.
While insisting that regaining the league title is "always the priority", he was adamant that the football "philosophy" he spoke about so passionately yesterday would not be compromised for pragmatic gains.
Expectations are high at the club with Villas-Boas brought in this summer after the sacking of the man who took Chelsea to the league and FA Cup double in 2010, and the Portuguese said he could "only dream to emulate" Carlo Ancelotti's debut season at Stamford Bridge.
Despite the talk that improving in Europe was his brief, Villas-Boas insisted that "the domestic title is always the priority". The random element of a knockout competition, he said, made European success harder. "We're not that far away," he said, "but it depends so much on the draw, in the group phase and the knockout phases. There has been a pattern in the last four years, I know, but that luck is needed still in the Champions League."
For all his praise of Ancelotti's achievements, though, Villas-Boas wants to change the approach at the Bridge, saying that Chelsea's "game looked slow last year". Having won the Portuguese league, cup and Europa League in his only season as Porto manager, Villas-Boas is an unashamed purist for attacking football. "I have a love for football that is well played," he said. "We want the ball as high [up the field] as possible, and as much as possible. It's about getting the team, the line, all pressurising together."
Despite the exceptionally direct and physical approach of Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, he has no intention of compromising. "Our philosophy has to stick, independent of challenges we will face," he insisted. "Their philosophy is there and you know they play this way. We just hope we can build a different philosophy for ourselves over the course of the season that's different to what we had last year."
Fernando Torres should be available tomorrow but Branislav Ivanovic is an injury doubt and David Luiz is out while Danny Sturridge is suspended. Villas-Boas confirmed that another young striker, Romelu Lukaku, would be a Chelsea player "within days or hours".
Latest in Sport
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and secure Champions League football next season
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger reveals: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players'
Danny Jones: Keighley Cougars half-back dies after cardiac arrest during league game
Chelsea season player ratings: Grading the entire squad of the new Premier League champions
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
In defence of liberal democracy