Tag Archives: hour

Bradley Wiggins: Liar Lance Armstrong made me so glad I"m clean

Liar Lance made me so glad I'm clean, says Tour de France winner Wiggins

By
Richard Moore

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:38 GMT, 25 January 2013

Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed how
watching Lance Armstrong's drug confession left him feeling angry, sad
and emotional – but relieved that he will never have to tell his son his
father doped to win the Tour de France.

'I wasn't going to watch it,' said
Wiggins last night, speaking at the Team Sky training camp in Majorca.
'I was determined not to watch it. But then I got home and I watched it
with my seven-year-old son Ben.

'Those initial six questions, the yes-no answers, watching him suddenly cave in after all those years of lying so convincingly . . . there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness. I was slightly emotional as well. It was difficult to watch. My wife couldn't watch it. She walked out the room.

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

'It was heartbreaking in some respects for the sport, but then the anger kicks in,' Wiggins continued. 'You're thinking, “What a ****ing a******e”.

'Then I've got to explain to my son what it's all about, that he has won the same race his dad has won. But by the end of the hour and a half I had the best feeling in the world.'

It was a feeling of relief and smugness, said Wiggins, who last year became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

He said: 'When Armstrong started welling up talking about his 13-year-old son asking him what it was all about . . . I never have to have that conversation with my own son. I can tell him his father's won the Tour de France clean and so there was an element of being quite smug.

'By the end, I thought, “You deserve everything you get”, and I felt no sympathy for him at all.

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

'I was a fan of Lance. I watched him
win the world championships in 1993 when I was 13, and when he came back
from cancer and won the Tour de France in 1999 I was 19, on the British
track programme, and that was so inspirational.

'And then I never really raced with him in his prime. I raced him at
the Tour when he came back in 2009 and I was fourth and he was third.'

Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey that he was clean in that comeback Tour,
though the US Anti-Doping Agency put the chances of him not doping that
year at 'one in a million'. Wiggins concurs. 'When he said he was upset
about USADA's claim that he doped in 2009 and 2010, I thought, you lying
b*****d,' he said.

'I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching his body language and comparing the man I saw at the top of Verbier on stage 15 to the man I saw at the top of Mont Ventoux on stage 20 a week later, when we were in dope control together. It wasn't the same bike rider.

'I don't believe anything that comes out the guy's mouth any more.'

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford added that Armstrong's confession had put cycling's credibility in the 'last chance saloon'.

He said: 'The sport must never go back to the place it was in the past. Fans must genuinely trust the results.'

Birmingham 2 Burnley 2 – match report

Birmingham 2 Burnley 2: Zigic leaves it late to snatch point for Blues

PUBLISHED:

17:54 GMT, 22 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 22 December 2012

Nikola Zigic's 89th-minute equaliser salvaged a point for a youthful Birmingham against Burnley at St Andrew's.

Blues had gone behind in 15 of their previous 22 npower Championship matches before today but it was they, fielding seven teenagers in their starting XI, who took the lead on the half-hour mark courtesy of Curtis Davies' header.

A contentious moment arrived just before the hour as Charlie Austin saw a goal chalked off when advantage could and should really have been played, but Burnley deservedly got their rewards soon after with two goals in three minutes.

Pure delight: Nikola Zigic celebrates after he scores the second and equalizing goal for Birmingham

Pure delight: Nikola Zigic celebrates after he scores the second and equalizing goal for Birmingham

Match facts

Birmingham: Butland, Packwood, Caldwell, Davies, Hancox, Hall (Elliott 76), Mullins, Reilly, Morrison (Burke 71), Redmond, Zigic.

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Ibanez, Gomis, Delfouneso, Hawker.

Booked: Morrison, Hancox, Davies, Mullins.

Goals: Davies 30, Zigic 89.

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mills, Wallace, Marney (Vokes 90), McCann, Paterson (Treacy 63), Ings (Bartley 88), Austin.

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Stanislas, Edgar, Long.

Booked: McCann, Mills.

Goals: Ings 66, Wallace 68.

Attendance: 17,284

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Danny Ings levelled with a well-taken finish before almost straight from kick-off Ross Wallace, also with his first goal of the season, converted a stunning free-kick off the underside of the crossbar.

But Serbian striker Zigic popped up to hammer home his second goal in as many games late on.
It ensured a point apiece for two struggling sides, who have now won just one of their last eight respectively.

City manager Lee Clark was hampered severely by injury and suspension, most notably the loss of 13-goal top scorer Marlon King.

And matters went from bad to worse in the build-up to kick-off as he lost the services of Peter Lovenkrands, Nathan Redmond stepping in.

Blues' naivety was showing in the opening stages as Martin Paterson wasted two great chances.

Ings and Chris McCann both threatened before Paterson was then presented with his third clear-cut opening within the first 12 minutes but was denied by a super stop from Jack Butland, with Blues' young full-backs struggling to cope.

But Birmingham got a grip on proceedings after their early struggles and it was they who took the lead with 30 minutes on the clock.

Joseph Mills was lucky to escape with a yellow card for his foul on Robert Hall on the right wing, and from the resulting free-kick Hall delivered a great cross which was headed home by Davies.

Michael Duff should have levelled for Burnley in the 38th minute but he could only fire over the bar from close range after Butland had parried Dean Marney's header.

Lee Grant then saved twice from Redmond and Hall before half-time.
Redmond again threatened at the start of the second period but it was Burnley who, largely, dominated.

A moment of controversy arrived in the 57th minute as Austin headed home Kieran Trippier's right-wing cross, but play had been halted for a late foul on Trippier by Mitch Hancox, with referee Eddie Ilderton not playing the advantage.

Burnley, however, did not have to wait long for their leveller as they deservedly equalised through Ings, who took a great touch before firing home from close range.
And no sooner had they levelled than the visitors took the lead.

Blues lost the ball straight from kick-off, Davies conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and Wallace converted a stunning set-piece.

Birmingham applied plenty of late pressure in search of an equaliser and it finally came in the 89th minute as Zigic blasted home from 12 yards.

Nigel Adkins still enjoying life at Southampton

Adkins insists he is enjoying the ride despite Southampton's struggles

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 2 November 2012

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins is thriving under the challenge of keeping the Saints in the Barclays Premier League.

Adkins takes his side to West Brom on Monday night still searching for an elusive away win.

The former Scunthorpe manager has come under increased media speculation regarding his future at St Mary's but revealed he is loving life at the wrong end of the table, with Southampton sitting 19th with only four points on the board.

Under pressure: Southampton have been on a woeful run of form

Under pressure: Southampton have been on a woeful run of form

'I'm loving the challenge, you only know once you're in a situation how you are going to react and face it,' he said.

'After the West Ham defeat there was a half-hour period which I didn't like but I'm loving the challenge that we are faced with, it is what you want to be in football for.'

Adkins feels he has been a marked man even before the Premier League season got under way but does not feel under any more pressure now than when he was guiding the Saints to back-to-back promotions.

He said: 'Before we even kicked a football I think I was the favourite to be sacked.

'So every week there is a question about that and it doesn't faze me one iota, I'm very, very ambitious and we are very ambitious here at Southampton – what will be in football will be.

'(The pressure) is exactly the same as when I joined. I put my comments out straightaway that I wanted to win the league and we got ourselves promoted, then we got ourselves promoted from the Championship.

Upbeat: Adkins is remaining positive

Upbeat: Adkins is remaining positive

'We are ambitious, we want to be winners and we are used to being winners – we are now faced with a different challenge but it is one that we embrace, we look forward to it. Nobody said it was going to be easy, this is what we are in football for, we are pushing ourselves to the limit.

'We can go one of two ways – we can either hide behind situations and crumble or we can face everything up, stick our chests out and we can be positive in what we do.'

Norwich set an example last season of a side who can sustain a place in the top flight following two consecutive promotions but Adkins is keen to stress the club are still in a transitional period after dropping into the third tier.

'We have come a hell of a long way in a short space of time, I think everyone is well aware of that,' he said.

'It is quite often the way that a newly-promoted side from a defensive point a view, a lot more questions are asked of you when you move up – especially if you have jumped up two divisions like we have gone and done.

Leaky: Southampton have the worst defence in the league

Leaky: Southampton have the worst defence in the league

Returning: Ramirez

Returning: Ramirez

'Everyone wants to the finished article straightaway, there is a great work in progress that is going on here at Southampton.

'There a lot of people from top to bottom throughout all of the different departments work very hard and are proud to be here at Southampton.'

Adkins feels a number of injuries to key personnel over the opening months of the season have also played a part in destabilising his side.

'I never want to harp on about injuries but it is fair to say that the back four has been unsettled more or less in every game for one reason or another,' he said. 'I'd like to think we can now put a consistent back four together and that will only add to the stability in the team.'

One player due to return from injury is club-record signing Gaston Ramirez.

The Uruguayan has been missing for five weeks with a thigh injury after his summer move from Bologna but Adkins is hoping he can unleash the 21-year-old at the Hawthorns on Monday night.

Phil Jagielka hits back at Steven Gerrard for comparing Everton to Stoke

Jagielka hits back at Gerrard: Everton may play long balls but at least we don't just pass short for the sake of it!

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UPDATED:

01:46 GMT, 31 October 2012

Phil Jagielka has hit back at Steven Gerrard’s assertion that Everton are 'just like Stoke' with his own barbed comments about Liverpool’s style of play.

Everton were incensed by Gerrard’s comments following Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, particularly as stats for the game showed they made more passes (448 to 314) and enjoyed more possession (56 per cent to 44 per cent) than Liverpool.

While Jagielka was happy to admit Everton could be direct when they want to be, to utilise the strength and aerial prowess of Marouane Fellaini, he suggested that Liverpool’s methods of always wanting to play on the ground are flawed.

Standing up for his club: Phil Jagielka has hit back at Steven Gerrard

Standing up for his club: Phil Jagielka has hit back at Steven Gerrard

'If Stevie says we are a long ball team then I’m not going to deny the fact that we play long balls,’ said Jagielka. ‘Do we play them for the full 90 minutes No. But we play quite direct.

'Who wouldn’t when you have someone in form like Marouane Fellaini, who can bring the ball down for fun and we start creating things from there Why wouldn’t you do that We don’t believe in passing it around for half an hour for the sake of it.

'If we can put the ball forward and cause them trouble then let’s cause them as much trouble as possible. We won’t change the way we play. We won’t start to look to put in a thousand passes a game.

'If we need to play forward to Felli to create chances, or to Nikica Jelavic or to Victor Anichebe, then guess what That’s what we’ll do.’

Hitting out: Gerrard compared Everton to Stoke

Hitting out: Gerrard compared Everton to Stoke

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, though, is not someone who will change his philosophy and he has added further spice to the fallout by backing up his captain’s claim that Liverpool have to play in a certain, attractive manner.

He did, however, acknowledge that Everton do have a number of skilful players who have made significant contributions this season.

'I believe there were two different styles,’ said Rodgers. ‘This is a club brought up with a certain way of playing. Its history has been defined by the many great managers who have been here. You have to win games but you have to win games by playing in a certain style.

'It’s the beauty of the Premier League – there are so many diverse ways of working and playing. We play a certain way. If you look at Everton and a number of other teams, they are a bit more direct and then play off the front players.

Focal point: But Everton were not guilty of long-balls to Marouane Fellaini

Focal point: But Everton were not guilty of long-balls to Marouane Fellaini

'But they have players with finesse like Leighton Baines and Leon Osman, who are terrific footballers. For us here at Liverpool, there’s a way in which we play and want to win games. the supporters and the history of the club dictates that.’

There is a feeling amongst Evertonians that Gerrard’s comments have shown that David Moyes’ squad have started to get under Liverpool’s skin. Everton are six points ahead of their neighbours and aim to finish above them in the table for the second successive year.

'I suppose it’s a backhanded compliment,’ said Jagielka. ‘Stevie must have thought Liverpool were in a game to come out which such comments. It makes you chuckle, but if Stevie is saying things like that, there must be a reason behind it which must be that we are doing something well.'

Neymar scores stunning goal in 200th match for Santos

200 not out! Neymar caps landmark night for Santos with stunning solo goal

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UPDATED:

08:38 GMT, 18 October 2012

Santos striker Neymar, playing only one day after scoring twice for Brazil against Japan in Poland, shrugged off jet leg to score a stunning individual goal in a 2-2 draw with Atletico Mineiro.

The 20-year-old needed only 12 minutes of his 200th club appearance – a fact he celebrated by wearing a special 'No 200' shirt – to make an impact against Ronaldinho's Mineiro.

Neymar received the ball with his back to
goal just inside the opposing half, flicked it around the outside of
one marker and immediately slipped it past a second to leave both
players sprawling on the ground.

Scroll down to see video of Neymar's brilliant goal

Double up: Neymar celebrated his 200th game for Santos by wearing a commemorative shirt

Double up: Neymar celebrated his 200th game for Santos by wearing a commemorative shirt

He then carried the ball into the penalty area, cut inside another defender and fired a low shot into the corner of the goal to put his side 2-0 ahead.

Neymar only arrived in Brazil on the morning of the game after the 20-hour trip from Wroclaw where he faced Japan in a friendly.

He has missed several Santos games this season due to Brazil call-ups, including the Olympic Games in London, much to the regret of coach Muricy Ramalho.

'Unfortunately, he has not played much for us this year and has been greatly missed,' said Ramalho, whose side are ninth with 42 points from 31 games.

Argentine striker Ezequiel Miralles had put Santos ahead after only 20 seconds, but Atletico Mineiro hit back with goals from Bernard and former Manchester City forward Jo before the half hour.

Mazy: Neymar produced a stunning solo goal to cap what was a memorable night for the man

Mazy: Neymar produced a stunning solo goal to cap what was a memorable night for the man

I am not worthy: Neymar even had time to pay tribute to the man whose throne he's after, Ronaldinho

I am not worthy: Neymar even had time to pay tribute to the man whose throne he's after, Ronaldinho

The game lost momentum after play was halted for 10 minutes following an ugly clash of heads between Mineiro pair Rafael Marques and Leonardo Silva.

Players removed advertising hoardings to try and help the ambulance drive onto the pitch, but it could not get through and Marques had to be taken on a stretcher to the vehicle. He was taken to a hospital but Atletico said he was not seriously hurt.

Bernard also had to leave the pitch in the second half after another clash of heads but did not need hospital treatment.

Mineiro stayed second in the table, nine points behind leaders Fluminense, who drew 2-2 at home to third-placed Gremio despite Moreno's quick dismissal.

The Bolivian international, who played for his country the previous day in a 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Uruguay, entered with Gremio 2-1 down and was shown a red card for elbowing Rafael Sobis in the 64th minute.

Former Brazil and Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo's side still managed to snatch a point with a 85th minute goal by Ze Roberto.

Emile Heskey to be offered Macclesfield deal

From Premier League to non-league Heskey to be offered deal at Macclesfield

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UPDATED:

08:20 GMT, 15 September 2012

Emile Heskey could make a belated return to football – with Blue Square Premier side Macclesfield.

The former England international has been without a club since leaving Aston Villa at the end of last season.

And ambitious table-topping Macclesfield will offer Heskey a deal to put him in the shop window.

Wanted: Emile Heskey is set to be offered a deal by Macclesfield

Wanted: Emile Heskey is set to be offered a deal by Macclesfield

The striker, who was capped 62 times for his country, lives just half an hour away from the Chesire club and manager Steve King is prepared to make him an open-ended offer to ensure he retains his fitness, according to the Daily Mirror.

Macclesfield are also determined to return to the Football League at the first attempt.

Heskey is reported to have other options, both at home and abroad, but has struggled to find his form in recent seasons, mustering just 14 goals in 110 appearances at Villa.

He was unable to agree a deal with Blackpool earlier in the summer while Ipswich and Stoke were also reported to be interested.

Anthony Davidson "happy to be alive" after Le Mans crash

Davidson tweets he's 'happy to be alive' after Le Mans crash

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UPDATED:

22:08 GMT, 17 June 2012

Former Formula One driver, Anthony Davidson, will have further tests in hospital on Monday to assess the full extent of the damage to his broken back caused by a massive crash during the Le Mans 24-hour race on Saturday.

Davidson's Toyota was sent hurtling through the air before slamming nose first into crash barriers after contact with Italian Piergiuseppe Perazzini's Ferrari five hours into the race.

Moment of impact: Davidson's car flies through the air

Moment of impact: Davidson's car flies through the air

Initial scans revealed Davidson, 33, Sky TV's Formula One analyst, had broken two vertebrae and Toyot a adopted a cautious tone on Sunday.

A spokesman said: 'We will find out more about the impact in the coming days.

'The good news is that these are injuries he can recover from over a period of time.'

Dramatic moment: British ace Davidson taken to hospital after huge shunt at Le Mans

Dramatic moment: British ace Davidson taken to hospital after huge shunt at Le Mans

Davids on, from Brackley, Northamptonshire, tweeted from hi s hospital bed on Sunday, saying: 'Feeling a bit sore today, but generally just happy to be alive!'

Referring to the crash he had earlier tweeted: 'Well that was a big one!'

The race was dominated by Audi, taking the top three places with the Quattro driven by Britain's Allan McNish finishing second.

Lucky escape: Davidson signs autographs before the race

Lucky escape: Davidson signs autographs before the race

Torquay 1 Cheltenham 2 (agg 1-4): Robins reach League Two play-off final

Torquay 1 Cheltenham 2 (agg 1-4): Robins fly into League Two play-off final

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UPDATED:

22:23 GMT, 17 May 2012

Cheltenham withstood heavy first-half pressure before goals from Jermaine McGlashan and Marlon Pack confirmed their place in the npower League Two play-off final.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Torquay came flying out of the blocks and Town goalkeeper Scott Brown was forced into a series of impressive saves within the opening half hour.

Pack your bags for Wembley: Marlon Pack celebrates his sides second goal

Pack your bags for Wembley: Marlon Pack celebrates his sides second goal

But Martin Ling's men ran out of steam after the interval and winger McGlashan, who opened the scoring at the Abbey Business Stadium on Sunday, effectively settled the tie with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Torquay substitute Taiwo Atieno levelled matters on the night before Robins midfielder Pack rifled home a magnificent 87th minute free-kick from 30 yards.

Mark Yates' men travel to Wembley a week on Sunday to face a Crewe side unbeaten in their last 18 outings. McGlashan was narrowly off target with a rasping 30-yard drive in the early stages before his side were forced to withstand a first-half onslaught.

Robins flying: Jermaine McGlashan (second right) eased Cheltenham's jitters with the first goal

Robins flying: Jermaine McGlashan (second right) eased Cheltenham's jitters with the first goal

Brown was the outstanding performer of the opening 45 minutes, and he got his night's work under way by tipping a Eunan O'Kane effort over following some deft footwork from the Torquay midfielder.

The Gulls headed into the contest without top scorer Rene Howe due to a hamstring injury, but they were not short on attacking threat, ably demonstrated when Ryan Jarvis burst into the box and forced Brown to push behind with a superb low block.

From the resulting corner, Cheltenham defender Keith Lowe fortuitously cleared via the post as he looked to hack clear from his own goalmouth and Brian Saah fired the loose ball wide.

Brown's best moment came courtesy of another low stop in the 27th minute when Mark Ellis' first-time shot from Stevens' shot emerged cleanly from a crowd of bodies.

Marvellous Marlon: Pack (right) put an exclamation point on the playoff semi-final

Marvellous Marlon: Pack (right) put an exclamation point on the playoff semi-final

Cheltenham striker James Spencer might have done better when he fired straight at Torquay keeper Robert Olejnik after the half hour, but it was at least an indication that Yates' men had weathered the storm.

There was drama a minute before the interval as Torquay full-back Kevin Nicholson's sweetly struck free-kick rattled the crossbar with Brown rooted to the spot.

The visitors immediately sprung up the other end and Olejnik stood firm to deny Kaid Mohamed.

Cheltenham began the second half with greater purpose and Olejnik gathered at the second attempt when McGlashan looked to clip home from an acute angle at the end of a mazy run.

At the races: Cheltenham will head to Wembley with confidence

At the races: Cheltenham will head to Wembley with confidence

O'Kane's 54th minute header looped up off Robins defender Alan Bennett to force Brown into another superb save, but it soon became clear that Torquay's early attacking verve had deserted them.

Mohamed hit a swerving shot over after a mazy run down the Torquay left by Robins full-back Sido Jombati before the decisive moment arrived in the 74th minute.

Mohamed was allowed to ease infield after collecting Ben Burgess' pass and he played in McGlashan, who stabbed home via Olejnik's boot and the inside of the far post.

Atieno reduced the aggregate arrears when he was left unmarked to glance in a near-post header from O'Kane's 85th minute corner.

However, Pack applied the gloss in memorable fashion when he found the top corner after Saah fouled Jeff Goulding.

Keothavong slumps to Malaysian Open first round surrender to qualifier

Keothavong slumps to Malaysian Open first round surrender to qualifier

Anne Keothavong was beaten in the first round of the BMW Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.

The eighth-seeded Briton went down 6-4, 7-5 to Taiwanese qualifier Hsieh Su-wei.

Keothavong struggled badly with her serve, winning only 37 per cent of points on her first delivery, as she lost in just over an hour and a half.

Out: Keothavong

Out: Keothavong

Andre Villas-Boas "shaken" after shock visit from Roman Abramovich

EXCLUSIVE: Roman's big shock for AVB! Chelsea boss 'shaken' after showdown


Calm down, calm down: Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas during Sunday's draw with Manchester United

Calm down: Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas during Sunday's draw with Manchester United

Andre Villas-Boas is fighting to convince Roman Abramovich he is still the man for the Chelsea job after an amazing showdown on Saturday.

Sportsmail can reveal that Villas-Boas was locked in talks with Abramovich at Chelsea's training ground on Saturday.

Abramovich turned up without any warning to watch them train before Sunday's 3-3 draw with Manchester United, when Villas-Boas's side threw away a 3-0 lead.

The Russian billionaire, flanked by key adviser Eugene Shvidler and fellow Chelsea director Eugene Tenenbaum, arrived at the training ground in Cobham before the start of training and the players were stunned when Abramovich walked out to watch Villas-Boas's session.

He saw 35 minutes of training before spending another half an hour with Villas-Boas demanding to know tactics for the game against United.

After watching Chelsea draw he went into the dressing room and spent about half an hour talking to the players.

Watchful eye: Roman Abramovich (right) at Cobham with Villas-Boas on Saturday

Watchful eye: Roman Abramovich (right) at Cobham with Villas-Boas on Saturday

The club's billionaire backer has become increasingly frustrated with the team's lack of progress this season and was determined to see at first hand the work of his young Portuguese manager.

Villas-Boas has been struggling to command the respect of the players in his first season at the club.

The squad were given no notice that Abramovich, who has not been seen at the training ground for months, would arrive to watch them prepare for the United game.

Abramovich spent four hours assessing the mood at the club. He rarely visits the site he bought to create the perfect environment for Chelsea's expensively assembled team.

Blown it: Chelsea threw away a three-goal led to draw with United

Blown it: Chelsea threw away a three-goal led to draw with United

Abramovich did attend the training ground before becoming involved in a high-profile court case with former associate Boris Berezovsky.

According to club sources he was pre-occupied with the case but has turned his attention to Chelsea while awaiting the court judgement.

Villas-Boas has always maintained that he has the full support of Abramovich but he has been left in no doubt about the demands of being Chelsea manager.

Making a point: Villas-Boas (right) must convince Abramovich of his worth

Making a point: Villas-Boas (right) must convince Abramovich of his worth

Some players believe dressing-room morale has been fractured beyond repair under Villas-Boas. That is a theory Abramovich put to the test on Saturday and Villas-Boas is understood to have been left shaken by the visit.

Carlo Ancelotti operated under similar circumstances when he was Chelsea manager and told friends life became 'intolerable' because of the pressure on him from above.