No Abramovich deadline – AVB

The beleaguered Blues face four defining games in the next

fortnight. They host Wolves on Saturday knowing anything other than

victory could see them slump to seventh in the Premier League by

the end of the weekend or slip even further behind leaders

Manchester City. Chelsea then welcome Liverpool in the Carling Cup

quarter-finals on Tuesday night before facing Newcastle in the

Premier League on Saturday week. Lastly, and arguably most

crucially, comes their final Champions League Group E match against

Valencia the following Tuesday, which they must win or draw 0-0 to

avoid crashing out of the competition. Abramovich’s patience would

be tested to the limit if Villas-Boas oversaw two cup exits and

more poor league results. But the Portuguese was adamant that he

had not been given a timeframe in which to stop the rot, saying:

“The contract is a three-year contract.” However, the length of a

manager’s contract has never stopped Abramovich wielding the axe in

the past and Villas-Boas accepted his job ultimately depended on

turning around Chelsea’s worst start to a season since the Russian

bought the club. “Results in football are the key to a manager’s

sustainability,” he said. “I have no problem with it. “I didn’t

come here to be failure. I came here to be a success. “It’s a

project of high expectations (in terms of results) and mine at the

moment are negative. There is no running away from that. “But that

doesn’t mean that the project won’t continue or that we don’t have

the talent to turn things around. “It is legitimate that people are

not happy, from fans to the media. Nobody wants to change that more

than us.” The current slump has resurrected doubts about whether –

at 34 and with just two years’ managerial experience behind him –

Villas-Boas is capable of handling the big egos in the Chelsea

dressing room. But he said: “That is a complete misconception.”

Villas-Boas had appeared drained after Chelsea’s fourth defeat in

seven matches at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night. But he looked

confident and relaxed on Friday afternoon under the watchful eye of

chairman Bruce Buck, who made a surprise appearance at the club’s

press conference to preview Saturday’s game with Wolves.

Villas-Boas insisted he was sleeping well and even joked he had not

expected to see himself on the back pages of newspapers on Friday

morning, despite the mounting pressure. But events took a more

serious turn when he denied reports of player unrest over his

tactical changes, which were made after being tasked by Abramovich

with getting the club to play more like Barcelona. Confirming a

meeting between players and staff had taken place on Thursday,

Villas-Boas insisted there had been no dissent expressed and that

he would have taken any concerns on board. But he warned any

changes would not extend to the overall playing style and was

adamant he would not sacrifice his attacking principles to get back

to winning ways. “The philosophy and the way we are set out is not

in question, whatsoever,” he said, hitting out at the parallels

drawn between Chelsea’s current slump and last season’s winter of

discontent that cost Carlo Ancelotti his job. “That doesn’t mean

we’re going to keep losing for three months,” said Villas-Boas,

whose use of the expression “negative spiral” has echoes of

Ancelotti’s famous “bad moment” mantra prior to the Italian leading

a late-season fightback in the title race. “Why don’t you speak

about the response after, the response that took Chelsea to within

three points of the leader? “Why don’t you speak of the ability of

these players to transcend a negative period? Why not speak about

that? “Or that after Chelsea get the win they need, they may go on

a winning streak like last year? Why don’t you?” Villas-Boas

maintained his existing squad was good enough and said he and

Abramovich had not discussed another January spending spree. Two of

his current players have indicated they and their team-mates are to

blame for the current malaise, but Villas-Boas said: “It’s my sole