Villas-Boas: I don’t need all players’ support

Under-fire Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas declared he doesn’t

need the support of the entire squad as long as he is backed by

owner Roman Abramovich.

A 2-0 loss at Everton on Saturday left Chelsea fifth in the

Premier League and out of the Champions League qualification


Villas-Boas hauled his underperforming players into the training

ground on their day off on Sunday to discuss the team’s


Questioned on Thursday about not enjoying the backing of all his

players, Villas-Boas said: ”That is normal. They don’t have to

back my project. It’s the owner who backs my project.”

”I think in the end there are always positives to take out from

meetings. Everybody wants to be involved, you have to go

face-to-face,” he said. ”But as tight as things are in the table

from fourth to seventh, it will change from now until the end of

the season on a weekly basis.”

The Portuguese is under increasing pressure having replaced

Carlo Ancelotti, who was fired after failing to win a trophy last

season despite a league and FA Cup double the previous year. That

change of mangers cost Chelsea 28 million pounds ($45 million) in

compensation, leading to suggestions that Abramovich would be

reluctant to ditch his seventh manager in eight years so


Villas-Boas has been in football management for less than three

years, having coached Portuguese teams Academica and FC Porto

before being lured to Chelsea.

”I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to

progress with the ideas that we have,” Villas-Boas said. ”In the

end, that is the objective of getting us the best position possible

in the league, plus these two trophies, which we are fighting


Chelsea hosts second-tier club Birmingham in the FA Cup on


”It will be extremely good for us if we win against Birmingham

to put ourselves in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup,” Villas-Boas

said. ”But we need strong progression in the league and to show

our strength … we all understand we need to do more, our run of

results hasn’t been impressive but the responsibility is


Striker Didier Drogba should return next week after being at the

African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast, which lost in the final to

Zambia on Sunday.

”Drogba gives us another solution up front,” Villas-Boas said.

”We’ve used (Fernando) Torres in all the games since he went away.

For the Birmingham game it will be between Torres and (Romelu)

Lukaku, and then from then on with Drogba as well. For the type of

player he is, he’s as strong as anybody.”