Andre Villas-Boas believes Chelsea can win Champions League

 

Ben Rumsby
Monday 20 February 2012 11:04
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Andre Villas-Boas has insisted Chelsea have what it takes to win this season's Champions League, despite admitting they were "not good enough" to beat a depleted npower Championship side.

Saturday's 1-1 FA Cup fifth round draw with injury-hit Birmingham did nothing to ease the pressure on Villas-Boas, whose players have produced their worst performances of the season at what appears to be the wrong time.

Chelsea's Champions League campaign resumes tomorrow night when they visit Napoli for their first leg of their last-16 clash.

A repeat of Saturday's display over the course of the tie will almost certainly result in elimination but Villas-Boas was confident his players would raise their game when it really mattered.

Indeed, the 34-year-old still believes he has a squad capable of ending the club's long wait for Champions League glory.

"If you go past Napoli then you can have a really good chance, depending on who you get in the draw - if you get a good draw," Villas-Boas said.

"It will be a massive challenge. Everyone saw what Napoli did in a group which put another English team out."

That team was Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City, who are 17 points better off than Villas-Boas' fifth-placed Chelsea.

The Portuguese has admitted finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season's Champions League is the minimum requirement this term - quite possibly in order for him to keep his job.

But another early exit from this season's competition - which would mark the third year in a row Chelsea had failed to reach the semi-finals - would really test the patience of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

Villas-Boas added: "The Champions League is a competition that everyone wants to win.

"The players will feel much more tension and feel it much more.

"There are two weeks between the games and it's important for us to be competent and to bring the game to Stamford Bridge with a win or a draw, ideally a scoring draw. Then we can finish the business here."

Chelsea raised their game when reaching the Champions League knockout stage looked in doubt, beating Valencia 3-0 in December in what was their best performance of the season.

That was inspired by Didier Drogba, who must surely start tomorrow night following another abject performance by Fernando Torres against Birmingham.

The £50million man's stock has never been lower following a 20th club game without a goal, especially after playing every match since Drogba departed on African Nations Cup duty.

That eight-week period looked the Spaniard's best chance of rediscovering his form but Villas-Boas claimed the renewed competition from Drogba's return could be the real catalyst.

He said: "Everybody is desperate for him (Torres) to score. Everybody pushes him, praises him in training and it will come with him getting opportunities.

"His confidence is low but we will have to continue to persist with our belief in his talent."

Chelsea will give captain John Terry until the last possible moment to prove his fitness for tomorrow's game following three weeks out with a knee problem.

Villas-Boas said: "If he misses out on Tuesday then we will miss a top, top player and a player who gives us great defensive stability.

"It would be a massive loss for us, that's for sure."

PA

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