“Turn to Alex I”m not stupid” Villas-Boas rules out return for defender
Andre Villas-Boas insists there will be no emergency call to end Alex’s first-team exile despite the defensive injury crisis which threatens to undermine Chelsea’s title bid.
Alex has been frozen out since a transfer request was accepted this month and Villas-Boas will patch up a makeshift back four rather than offer an olive branch to the Brazilian centre half.
‘We are not stupid people,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘We do not accept a transfer request and put people training apart and then dial 999 and ask for help. We will stick to our principles and our values for the decision we felt was good for the club.
No return: Alex looks unlikely to play for Chelsea again
‘We have to find the necessary adaptations to go through a period like this. That was the decision we felt sensible. We felt confident at that time and we will stick to it.’
Alex and Nicolas Anelka were ordered out of the first-team building and told to train with the reserves after their transfer requests were accepted at a time when Chelsea’s form was suffering.
‘It was not a thing to penalise anybody,’ said Villas-Boas. ‘It was to fine-tune what we have. We went through that period of results and we wanted everybody on the same tune regarding training, and the same tune in terms of commitment, concentration, and immediate club objectives.’
Anelka has agreed to join Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League when the transfer market opens next month but Alex has not confirmed a move, despite long-standing interest from Juventus and clubs in Russia.
‘Everybody has ambition,’ added Villas-Boas. ‘He is an extremely professional player and personality. I think he has his personal ambitions and that’s why we accepted it.’
David Luiz will be fit after a knee injury to partner John Terry in central defence and ease the defensive crisis ahead of Monday”s derby against Fulham.
Branislav Ivanovic is doubtful with a hamstring injury picked up at Tottenham, when full back Jose Bosingwa was forced into action as a centre half and Paulo Ferreira played for the first time in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Gary Cahill could be signed early next month from Bolton to offer more options at the back but Villas-Boas has taken encouragement from recent results, including four points from games against title rivals Manchester City and Tottenham.
Battle on: Andre Villas-Boas has a injury problem at the back for Chelsea
‘I don’t think any team can find a level of comfort at White Hart Lane, especially in an intense London derby,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘So for us to play the magnificent football we played in the second half is extremely gratifying.
‘It’s all good signs, irrespective of the result. This is a radical change in the way Chelsea play and I think it was fantastic to see that we could do that and have the ability to play this football.
‘The character and personality of the players was never in doubt. We have had extreme examples of that in the past and more obviously recently where we responded to the point of crisis with three wins in three matches. We have continued to build on from that.
‘At Tottenham, we showed extreme levels of resilience and discipline without dropping our level of performance. And when we had the chance we played with good football.’
Set to play: John Terry will be partnered by David Luiz at the back for Chelsea
Chelsea go into Monday’s derby 11 points behind league leaders City but the Londoners have not given up on a fightback.
The Blues are at home to Aston Villa on New Year’s Eve before fixtures against Wolves, Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea ahead of the visit of Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on February 5.
‘At the moment we threaten them from distance,’ said Villas-Boas. ‘It was not that long ago, before the Newcastle game, that we were 12 points behind. We are now 11 points behind but after being within seven of City and after we had to play two difficult away games.
‘You can tell me Wigan was two wasted points and I would agree, but we saw what a motivated Wigan could do against Liverpool.
‘We have to wait to the end of the season to see if it proved a good point or two points lost. If we can get the six points from the home games against Fulham and Villa, I think it will be an extremely good December.
‘If you look at the table, it’s a record-breaking Manchester City that is making the difference. If you look at the Premier League we are not far from championship-winning numbers in terms of past seasons.’