AVB hits out at Neville

Player-turned-pundit Neville has been outspoken in his assessment

of the Blues’ deficiencies in recent weeks and Villas-Boas hit out

at the ex-defender for a second time after Tuesday night’s

Champions League win over Valencia. But that minor rant was nothing

compared to the furious tirade unleashed by the Chelsea manager on

Friday afternoon when Neville’s name was brought up again. In what

had until that point been a mild-mannered press conference to

preview Chelsea’s crunch Premier League game against Manchester

City on Monday night, Villas-Boas struggled to mask his outright

contempt for the recent comments made by Neville. “I’d say this to

his face with most pleasure,” said Villas-Boas, who watched the

televised build-up to Tuesday’s match during which he claimed

Neville had suggested he would not want to be in the Chelsea

dressing room. “What does he know about the Chelsea dressing room?

What does Gary Neville know about our dressing room? “How can you

imagine what is going on in the Chelsea dressing room? How can you

know? “Have you been here? Do you know where Cobham is? You don’t

even know how to get here! “You can’t speculate and invent on

things that are going on, based on assumptions or informants or

speculation. Some people can have more or less an idea. But not

him. He cannot know. “I’m normally indifferent, not watching on the

telly to see what these people say. “But I was watching the

television at that moment, and I was gobsmacked.” Chelsea’s home

defeat to Liverpool almost three weeks ago saw Neville claim

defender David Luiz had played like he was being controlled by a

10-year-old using a PlayStation. Villas-Boas said: “You cannot

approach a top Brazil central defender saying he’s commanded by a

kid with a PlayStation. That’s ridiculous. “He plays for the team

with most (world) titles, so be careful with what you’re saying.”

Luiz, who cost Chelsea £26.5million from Benfica in January,

has been a regular target for criticism, the latest focusing on his

last-man challenge on Demba Ba in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Newcastle.

Villas-Boas said: “Nobody tried to focus on the fact that maybe

Demba Ba was offside in the David Luiz challenge. Nobody took that

option. “They all wanted to give him the red card straight away.

“(Newcastle boss) Alan Pardew made a big scandal out of this but

the guy is offside. “Maybe the linesman should have done his work –

and maybe Pardew was lucky! “He even got a free-kick which Ryan

Taylor could have scored from, and I got a yellow card and a player

suspended. “So maybe, now, I should get the player and the card

rescinded, because it was an offside the linesman didn’t give. “And

this is the same manager who got a (controversial) penalty at Old

Trafford to get a 1-1 making a big scandal out of this. “And then

it was ‘It got their player (Steven Taylor) injured, because David

Luiz wasn’t sent off’ – come on!” Neville is the latest big-name

pundit to fall foul of Villas-Boas, who has also taken umbrage at

criticism from Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness

since his appointment as Chelsea boss. “Most of these people we are

speaking about have a direct past related to single clubs, which

are their favourite clubs, which in the end brings a likely biased

position in their opinion-making,” Villas-Boas said. “Sometimes

more, sometimes less, sometimes nothing.” The 34-year-old added:

“Comic criticism and the lack of in-depth criticism from top

ex-professional players, when they take the route to the

ridiculous, I think I have a word to say. “When they opt for words

as we’ve been seeing, in the past, I have to be aggressive.”

Villas-Boas scoffed at suggestions he was being oversensitive,

claiming Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini – who he will pit his

wits against in Monday’s Barclays Premier League clash – had been

just as upset by former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann branding

his side “boring”. Villas-Boas said: “We’ve just seen that Mancini

reacted to what Lehmann said about City, which was completely out

of this world as well. He opted to do that. “I could discharge

these people but not when what they say is ridiculous.”