Andre Villas-Boas’ war of words with Gary Neville continues to escalate after the Chelsea boss let rip at the former Manchester United captain’s criticism of his side.
Article continues below ...
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."