AVB to change Chelsea line-up

Villas-Boas has admitted he will have one eye on Chelsea’s Premier

League showdown at Manchester United when he picks his team for

Tuesday night’s Champions League opener. “You’ll see some changes,”

said the 33-year-old, who must decide whether to recall Fernando

Torres to his attack and who will replace the suspended Ramires in

midfield. “Then we’ll make wise decisions for Sunday.” Didier

Drogba will once again miss out on Tuesday night as he continues

his recovery from a head injury. The striker was given another two

days off this week and is looking more and more likely to sit out

Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford. Torres appeared a strong favourite

to continue his run in the team before he lost his place for

Saturday’s win at Sunderland and the misfiring striker’s misery

deepened on Monday when it emerged Chelsea were probing an

interview he gave in which he appeared to criticise his own

team-mates. The Spain forward claimed his comments were

mistranslated, even though they appeared on his personal website.

Torres was bought to help Chelsea win the Champions League, with

Villas-Boas ultimately recruited for the same reason. The

Portuguese has yet to manage in the competition but has plenty of

experience of it from his time on Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff.

History shows it can be vital for a team to win their group to go

on and lift the trophy, but Villas-Boas said: “The competition is

full of exceptions. “I lived Porto’s experience and we managed to

play all the second legs away from home and still qualified to win

the Champions League in 2004.” Tuesday night’s game will reunite

Villas-Boas and Chelsea with former Stamford Bridge midfielder

Michael Ballack. Villas-Boas said: “I haven’t been able to speak to

Michael for a lot of years, since I left. “He’s a player who

represented a lot to us and represents a lot to Leverkusen. “I’m

not sure about the thoughts of their coach regarding Michael’s

inclusion in the squad, because they’ve been using him sometimes

and other times not. “But he adds value to the squad with the

vision he has.” Ballack returned the compliment about the former

Blues scout, who is a year younger than him. The veteran midfielder

said: “In my time at Chelsea I had a few coaches and sometimes they

changed them maybe a little too quick, but what is surprising is he

is a very young coach. “When people talk about him, they talk most

of the time about his age but he showed his quality when even in

this young age he won a European trophy with Porto, which is

unusual. “It is not surprising that Chelsea always had their eye on

him, he worked there before in the background and he did a lot of

important stuff for Jose Mourinho.”