Chelsea v West Brom reaction

BY foxsports • August 20, 2011

The Blues looked far from potential Premier League champions, Florent Malouda sparing Villas-Boas' blushes with a late winner at Stamford Bridge. Villas-Boas did not lose a league game at Porto last season but was in danger of suffering an early setback in his Chelsea career when Shane Long gave the Baggies a half-time lead on Saturday. Nicolas Anelka equalised and Malouda - who had been left out of the side but came off the bench in the first half - ensured the Portuguese's first three points in charge. Villas-Boas said: "In the first half, we suffered a little bit from anxiety because we suffered the first goal too early and we couldn't express ourselves. "I think it has nothing to do with the impact of the changes we made. "Our half-time talk was for the players to free themselves from the anxiety they were suffering, because the public was anxious and the players were anxious and you still have 45 minutes to play and anything can happen - and it did happen. "When you find the back of the net for the 1-1, again the emotional impact on the opponent is tremendous and we felt very, very confident to go in search for the second goal, and we found it." He added: "This team wants to be champions again. The public wants to be champions and demands it. We are listening to their demands." Villas-Boas dismissed Saturday's anxiety as a consequence of Long's opener, rather than anything deeper. Insisting it was nothing to do with the age of Chelsea's squad, he added: "I think you have an extremely good example of maybe a dead team that were European champions in Inter Milan. "They were the same team that won three championships in a row with Mancini. "When everyone thought they were dead, they won the Champions League. It's nothing to do with age. It's something to do with quality and competence - and we have it." That is debatable judging by Chelsea's opening two Premier League games, and an injection of creativity in midfield is surely a necessity if they are to provide a serious challenge to Manchester United and Manchester City. West Brom boss Roy Hodgson was left feeling "deja vu" after watching his side trouble one of the title favourites before conceding a late goal. Hodgson, whose side also lost 2-1 to United on Sunday, said: "It's a little bit of deja vu. "We looked quite solid today, but you get punished for the errors you make. "We made two down the left side which let them in, and they took their chances. "We were a constant threat and I thought the team were very hard-working and very disciplined. "And there were some outstanding individual performances. "When or if I get over the disappointment, I'll probably see some positives from it. "But, at the moment, I'm finding it a little bit tough, as you can probably see by the miserable expression on my face." Hodgson refused to compare the title chances of United and Chelsea, saying: "I'm an Oscar Wilde man. I don't believe in comparisons." But he was happy to discuss the performance of summer signing Long, whose dream start to life at Albion continued today. "Shane did everything we wanted of him today," Hodgson said. "I wouldn't want to be a centre-half with him buzzing around my heels. "He should be very proud of his performance. So too our goalkeeper and our centre-half (Jonas) Olsson." Fellow forward Peter Odemwingie came off the bench on Saturday, two days after signing a new contract. Hodgson said: "It was important to get Peter's future sorted out. I was always confident it would be. "It was a bit more drawn out than I thought it might have been."


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