Chelsea players 'don't have to back my project' says Andre Villas-Boas

 

Andre Villas-Boas today admitted some of Chelsea's players had turned against his project but insisted he still had the backing of the only man who matters.

Villas-Boas claimed it was "normal" for certain members of a squad not to be fully behind their manager following reports the Blues boss had been openly challenged during a team meeting on Sunday.

And he was confident he still retained the full support of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich to complete what is proving a turbulent transition at Stamford Bridge.

Speculation over Villas-Boas' position has been rife since he hauled in his underperforming stars on their day off on Sunday following the previous afternoon's Barclays Premier League defeat at Everton.

A meeting ensued to try to prevent a repeat of what the Chelsea boss admitted was his side's worst performance of a stuttering season.

Villas-Boas today denied "strong words" had been exchanged but acknowledged he did not enjoy the backing of all his players.

"That is normal," he said.

"They don't have to back my project. It's the owner who backs my project."

Villas-Boas, who on Saturday took "full responsibility" said he was unaware of any of his squad questioning his tactics or team selection.

There have also been reports senior stars want Abramovich to send an SOS to Guus Hiddink to rescue Chelsea's season, just as the Dutchman did three years ago when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked.

But despite the club being in a worse position now - fifth in the Barclays Premier League - than they were then, Villas-Boas was confident his own job was under no more threat this week than last.

"I don't think so, but it's a question that you will have to ask the owner," he said ahead of Saturday's FA Cup clash with Birmingham and Champions League last-16 first leg at Napoli.

"I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have.

"In the end, that is the objective of getting us the best position possible in the league, plus these two trophies, which we are fighting for.

"It will be extremely good for us if we win against Birmingham to put ourselves in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

"But we need strong progression in the league and to show our strength, so we efficate a little bit more our contention for fourth place - as third is already 10 points ahead of us - so that we get Champions League qualification."

PA

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