Villas-Boas: We weren't naive in our approach at Old Trafford

 

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The Independent Online

Andre Villas-Boas has defended his approach as Chelsea manager after criticisms of his tactics this week.

He was accused of "naivety" following Sunday's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United, but yesterday said that those accusations could only come from those who "live through lowering others".

Despite the defeat, Villas-Boas insisted that Chelsea were the better side at Old Trafford, and therefore found the analysis of the game so misguided that he suggested it was denigration for its own sake. "It's untrue," he said. "There was no naiveness [sic] there. It is an unwillingness to make a correct comment of the game by having pleasure in criticising others."

Having gone to Old Trafford with an attacking approach, Villas-Boas believes that his team surprised the pundits, who resorted to "taking the easy path" of judging by the result rather than the patterns of the match. "I really think that people like that go against their own principles," he said. "They don't know what to say and live through lowering the others, which I find quite strange."

That it should be pundits with football experience who criticised Chelsea was of particular frustration to Villas-Boas. Alan Hansen, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday, said that Chelsea were "naive" and that they "lost control".

"I respect the opinion of people," Villas-Boas responded. "But when it's football people I find it strange. We weren't naive. We had the initiative. We created most chances. It was a problem of efficiency."

The performance, if not the result, encouraged Villas-Boas to pursue the attacking philosophy he is trying to introduce at Chelsea. "I would do the same all over the season," he said of an approach which he believes is more especially rewarding.

"The path that a couple of managers take is more difficult but is much more gratifying." When asked whether he would sacrifice chances of winning to preserve his philosophy, he said: "I agree that the way you win is as important as winning. There are risks but you have to take risks in life."

Chelsea host Swansea City at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, and Villas-Boas praised counterpart Brendan Rodgers, who is himself committed to aesthetic football: "When you try to implement a philosophy like Brendan is trying to do, there is a dignity in the path he chose because it's a difficult path for a team who need points. He doesn't leave his philosophy to second place."

Villas-Boas is likely to make up to ten outfield changes from the Carling Cup penalty win over Fulham in mid-week. Petr Cech should continue in goal despite a head injury, while Didier Drogba is likely to start.

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