Tag Archives: requests

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track after a poor showing at the European Indoor Championships

Chambers storms off the track after failing to qualify from European indoor heats

By
Laura Williamson

PUBLISHED:

17:07 GMT, 1 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:22 GMT, 1 March 2013

Dwain Chambers stormed off the track in anger after being eliminated in the first round of the men’s 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships this afternoon.

The 34-year-old, who won gold in this event in 2009 and a silver medal two years ago, missed out on automatic qualification after coming fifth in his heat.

Chambers’ time of 6.78 seconds – two tenths of a second down on his season’s best – was not enough to guarantee him a place in Saturday's semi-finals as a fastest loser.

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

Frustration: Dwain Chambers threw off his vest after failing to qualify for the final of the European Indoor Championships

The European indoor record-holder, who served a two-year ban after testing positive for the anabolic steroid THG in 2003, threw his British vest to the floor in frustration and ignored all interview requests as he left the Scandinavium Arena.

Chambers missed the UK trials in Sheffield to protect a back injury and looked out of sorts at the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham three weeks ago, when he finished fifth.

But the 2010 world indoor champion, who said earlier this year he finally feels ‘part of the team again’ after spending half his time training with UK Athletics’ sprint coach Rana Reider at Loughborough University, had insisted he would not compete in Gothenburg if he was not fully fit.

Speaking after his frustration had subsided, Chambers said: 'The performance was not what I expected and I can only express my disappointment because a lot of time and effort was put into me getting to these championships, and I want to apologise to the people whose time I feel I have wasted.

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

Out of sorts: Chambers, who has won a silver and gold at the last two championships, struggled to a time 6.78s, not enough to see him go through as a fastest loser

'I came here with all the intention
to do well and fight for a medal, which is always what I have been
renowned for doing, but the injury obviously took more out of me than I
had anticipated. So with that I'm really disappointed and feel bad for
letting people down.

'There was no pain. I think what
happened is that I spent all my time getting ready to get on the plane
injury free and I didn't prioritise my time to prepare for the
championships.

'I thought I was going to be all
right, but that was the wrong mind process I'd put myself into – I just
wasn't ready. I'm disappointed that I've let people down.

'In situations like these where you
want to do well, you expect to do well and people expect you to do
well…it hurts. I know what I'm capable of doing and it is
disappointing that I am not able to do that today.

'Now I'm just going to cheer on the rest of the team.'

James Dasaolu, however, cruised through
his heat to post the third-fastest qualification time, easing off before
the line to finish second behind Michael Tumi of Italy in 6.62 seconds.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey also reached tomorrow’s semi-finals with a
season’s best of 6.65 seconds.

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

No such problems: Fellow Brit James Dasaolu (centre) made it through to the semi-final

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey said: ‘It's a
seasons best – another good run and we'll take it lower, that's the aim.
It’s another opportunity and I think I've been quite lucky indoors. We
haven't really focused on it, so I've done some speed work over the last
few weeks.

‘Dwain and I
have been training together which has really helped. I'm just going to
take each round as it comes. I'm in a GB vest, so it's not about my
personal gain, it's about representing the country and showing what
we've got.

‘I stumbled out of the blocks a bit, so hopefully in the next round I'll go even better.’

James Dasaolu said: ‘I'm really happy, I wanted to qualify as easily as possible. I don't feel like I've exerted too much energy and I think that's what it's all about – using as little energy as possible. I've run a PB in pretty much every race, so I'm in good shape.

‘In the next round I'm going to be more aggressive and run through the line. It wasn't the quickest of fields, so I knew I didn't have to hammer the start, it was just about getting through.’

David Gold and David Sullivan immortalised as West Ham gift figurines

The perfect stocking filler West Ham immortalise owners Gold and Sullivan as bobblehead figures

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UPDATED:

15:28 GMT, 14 November 2012

It's that time of the year when kids trawl through the merchandise catalogue of their favourite club looking for stocking fillers.

But I wonder how many young West Ham fans will have these on their Christmas wish list.

The Hammers have immortalised their owners David Gold and David Sullivan as brilliant bobblehead figurines, available to buy from the club shop for 11.99 apiece.

Perfect stocking filler: West Ham have brought out these bobblehead figures of owners David Gold (left0 and David Sullivan

Perfect stocking filler: West Ham have brought out these bobblehead figures of owners David Gold (left0 and David Sullivan

Sullivan looks fetching in his trademark claret blazer and club tie, while Gold comes across a bit more reserved in a dark suit and West Ham scarf.

Both have nodding heads, meaning they always seem very compliant to Sam Allardyce's transfer requests.

The set is completed by Mark Noble, who appears in a vintage West Ham home kit.

The bobbleheads are available to buy on the club's online shop here.

Top dog: David Sullivan photographed at his home in Essex

The boss: West Ham co-owner David Gold at the recent home match with Manchester City

All smiles: West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold

Orlando Cruz: Gay boxer wins first fight since coming out

Openly gay boxer Cruz wins first fight since revealing sexuality

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UPDATED:

09:31 GMT, 20 October 2012

Orlando Cruz has won his first fight since publicly declaring his homosexuality after he beat Jorge Pazos to retain his light featherweight title in a unanimous decision.

The Puerto Rican featherweight (19-2-1, nine KOs) looked confident and at ease, but Pazos (20-4, 13 KOs) held his own much of the match.

The judges scored it 118-110, 116-111, 118-110 for Cruz, who celebrated the victory in front of a cheering crowd at the Kissimmee Civic Center outside of Orlando.

Unanaimous: Cruz won his first bout since revealing his sexuality

Unanaimous: Cruz won his first bout since revealing his sexuality

Cruz has been surrounded by attention since he came out earlier this month, doing dozens of interviews while receiving praise and support from all corners of sports and society.

'That was my moment, my opportunity, my event,' Cruz said Friday night after the bout, his mother, Dominga Torres-Rivera, seated beside him. 'And I won.'

Cruz was touched by the support on display at the Kissimmee Civic Center outside Orlando, the latest in a continual outpouring since his announcement two weeks ago that made him the first active male athlete in a major sport to come out.

'I was very happy that they respect me. That’s what I want — them to see me as a boxer, as an athlete and as a man in every sense of the word,' he said.

Hard fought: Cruz had his work cut out to retain his title against Pazos

Hard fought: Cruz had his work cut out to retain his title against Pazos

Hard fought: Cruz had his work cut out to retain his title against Pazos

Cruz’s declaration has garnered plenty of attention and interview requests for the WBO’s fourth-ranked featherweight, as well as public support from everyone from former Olympic teammate Miguel Cotto to singer Ricky Martin.

'With all that’s been going through my life the past two weeks, I have no excuses,' Cruz said. 'It did affect me, going here, going there. It did affect me.'

Although the Mexican Pazos held his own for much of the fight, it was Cruz standing on the ropes playing to the adoring crowd moments later with a 118-110, 116-111, 118-110 decision.

'He's a boxer who moves too much, he knows how to box and he has good legs,' Pazos said. 'I couldn’t get him.'

Cruz is hoping this victory will get him a shot at a bigger match in the near future.

All smiles: Cruz soaks up the applause after successfully completing the defence of his title

All smiles: Cruz soaks up the applause after successfully completing the defence of his title

All smiles: Cruz soaks up the applause after successfully completing the defence of his title

'This fight’s going to open my door for a world title fight,' Cruz said. 'That’s my dream, my mom’s dream, my community’s dream and my team's.'

And Cruz seems to be more at ease with his new position as a gay role model, no longer hiding who he is in one of the world’s most macho sports.

'I'm only one person,' Cruz said. 'I feel happy with where I am. I’m free. I’m more at peace.'

Cristiano Ronaldo and other stars who sulked their way out

More money, transfer requests and training alone – sulking Ronaldo is in good company

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 4 September 2012

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UPDATED:

15:26 GMT, 4 September 2012

Some people will never be pleased and it appears that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of them.

The Real Madrid forward, who forced through an 80m move to the Spanish capital from Manchester United in 2009, has claimed he is sad at the La Liga champions – alerting Chelsea and Manchester City to his future availability.

But as the Portuguese international counts the missing pennies he thinks he deserves, Sportsmail has compiled a list of six sulkers who also spat out their dummies before finally seeing their demands met.

Dwight Yorke

A long servant and a fan favourite, Yorke had become one of the Premier League’s most feared strikers during his nine-year spell at Aston Villa before it all came to an abrupt end in 1998.

Firing in 97 goals in 288 games for the West Midlands club had caught the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson, who was aiming to strengthen his Manchester United attack after losing the Premier League title the previous season.

Here today gone tomorrow: Dwight Yorke's poor performance in his last Aston Villa game led to his transfer to Manchester United

Here today gone tomorrow: Dwight Yorke's poor performance in his last Aston Villa game led to his transfer to Manchester United

Here today gone tomorrow: Dwight Yorke's poor performance in his last Aston Villa game at Everton in 1998 led to his transfer to Manchester United

Villa boss John Gregory categorically ruled out selling the Trinidad and Tobago hitman, but a very sloppy performance against Everton on the first day of the season left him with little choice but to offload his want-away striker in a 12.6m deal.

Gregory later stated that Yorke had handed in a transfer request and on hearing the demand claimed: ‘If I had a gun, I would have shot him.’ The Villa faithful were just as angry with the striker who had helped the club win the League Cup in 1996.

Nicolas Anelka

In just over two Premier League seasons at Arsenal between 1997 and 1999, Anelka went from being a promising youngster to one of the deadliest strikers in Europe.

Any hopes of the French striker rewarding the club that gave him his big breakthrough at the top level though were quickly extinguished when Real Madrid came calling.

Happier times: Nicolas Anelka (right) helped Arsenal win the Premier League title and the FA Cup in his first full season

Happier times: Nicolas Anelka (right) helped Arsenal win the Premier League title and the FA Cup in his first full season

Arsene Wenger signed Anelka as a 17-year-old from Paris St-Germain for just 500,000 and the youngster helped Arsenal win the double in his first full season, picking up the league’s Young Player of the Year award the following year.

But despite seemingly having a bright future in north London, Anelka felt he deserved a better salary and by the time Madrid stumped up 23m to sign him, Gunners fans, fed up of his poor attitude and lack of commitment, had already dubbed him ‘Le Sulk’ – a nickname that stuck like velcro.

Ashley Cole

Another star given his big breakthrough by Arsenal, but despite Cole giving five years more service to the Gunners than Anelka – his summer departure to Chelsea in 2006 left arguably a more sour taste in the fans’ mouths than the Frenchman’s.

Fuming at an extended contract offer of ‘only’ 55,000-a-week, the left-back quickly became disillusioned with the club.

Just one year after being caught discussing a move to Chelsea with their manager Jose Mourinho, he finally sealed a move to Stamford Bridge for 5m with William Gallas going the other direction to the Emirates Stadium.

Welcome back: Ashley Cole reacts after being tackled by former Arsenal team mate Cesc Fabregas

Welcome back: Ashley Cole reacts after being tackled by former Arsenal team mate Cesc Fabregas

Mock up: Arsenal fans printed fake bank notes with Cole's face on

Mock up: Arsenal fans printed fake bank notes with Cole's face on

Arsenal fans, keen on handing out nicknames, dubbed him ‘Cashley’ and greeted his first return to the club with banknotes that had his face replacing the Queen’s.

Dimitar Berbatov

Arguably one of Tottenham’s greatest signings in the Premier League era after joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2006, but even after just one year the cracks were starting to appear in the relationship between the Bulgarian and the north London side.

In a Premier League match at Newcastle in October 2007, the striker, already in poor form, ignored calls from manager Martin Jol to warm up in the 3-1 defeat which culminated with the Dutch boss being sacked three days after.

Berbat-off: Dimitar Berbatov (left) started on the bench for Spurs' opening day Premier League defeat at Middlesbrough in 2008

Berbat-off: Dimitar Berbatov (left) started on the bench for Spurs' opening day Premier League defeat at Middlesbrough in 2008

Berbatov picked up his form after the arrival of Juande Ramos, but was soon causing unrest just under a year later when Manchester United reignited an earlier interest in signing him.

The Bulgarian’s disruption was enough to see him completely dropped from the Spurs squads to face Sunderland and Chelsea, before sealing a last hour switch on transfer deadline day to United for 30.75m.

Emmanuel Adebayor

The stats suggest that Adebayor gave just over three years of decent service to Arsenal after racking up 62 goals in 142 appearances for the Gunners.

Fans of the club will tell you otherwise. Following a 2007/08 season where the striker scored 30 goals, the Togo international caught the attention of Barcelona and AC Milan and was linked with a 30m move away from the Emirates.

Controversial: Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates in front of Arsenal fans after scoring against the north London side playing for Manchester City

Controversial: Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates in front of Arsenal fans after scoring against the north London side playing for Manchester City

A transfer failed to materialise, but the following campaign he scored just over half the amount of goals as supporters registered their disapproval at the striker’s apparent lack of effort over the campaign.

It didn’t dent his value to much though as a 25m move to Manchester City followed in 2009. He soon showed Arsenal supporters his feelings on the matter when he faced his former side. Adeabyor ran the full length of the pitch to celebrate scoring a goal in front of them just weeks after leaving north London.

Fernando Torres

A fine example of how a perfect combination can quickly sour. After joining from Atletico Madrid in 2007 for 26.5m, Torres was unstoppable in his first couple of seasons playing for a Liverpool side strongly contending the Premier League title and the Champions League.

But once the Reds crashed out of Europe’s premier competition and the domestic top four in 2009, the Spaniard’s form soon suffered the same fate.

Bad start: Torres's Chelsea debut came against Liverpool in a 1-0 defeat

Bad start: Torres's Chelsea debut came against Liverpool in a 1-0 defeat

By the time January 2011 came around, Liverpool had slumped to mid-table and Torres was training on his own – with manager Kenny Dalglish desperate to remove any negativity in the Liverpool dressing room.

Chelsea thrashed out a 50m deal on transfer deadline day to sign the unhappy striker, who soon had a smile back on his face once pictured with a Blues shirt…this was before he found the net just once in his next 23 games.

Sam Allardyce warns West Ham to focus on play-off final

Allardyce warns players to focus on Wembley final after demand for tickets rockets

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UPDATED:

07:42 GMT, 18 May 2012

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce had to tell his players to ignore any more ticket requests for Saturday's trip to Wembley.

The Hammers quickly shifted their 35,000 allocation for the npower Championship play-off final against Blackpool as they attempt to secure promotion back to the top flight.

And as the Seasiders have tickets to spare, many thousands more Hammers fans are expected to make the trip for West Ham's first visit to the national stadium since 1981.

On the verge: West Ham are one game away from the Premier League

On the verge: West Ham are one game away from the Premier League

Football League blog

And Allardyce admitted he and his players have been inundated with requests for the hottest ticket in town.

'There will be more than 35,000 there, more like 45,000, knowing our fans,' admitted Allardyce.

'Everybody has rung me for tickets. Fortunately the deadline has passed so if anyone is hearing this, I won't get you one anymore.

'And if I catch players getting people tickets as well I will give a good dressing down because we have to focus on the job now.

'Tickets for family and friends is a massive distraction in a game like this.

'The lads put that to bed now – I don't think there are too many more tickets to be had – and we focus on the game now.'

Instant return Blackpool could bounce back at the first attempt

Instant return Blackpool could bounce back at the first attempt

Striker Carlton Cole, who will lead the line for the Hammers at Wembley, admitted it has been hard to please everybody.

'I know too many people, everyone has been asking me for tickets,' he said.

'But I just put on my Blackberry Messenger status that there are none left so don't ask – and if you do ask you're getting deleted. That is what I've put out there.

'After Tuesday the manager said if anyone asks for tickets just tell them to “eff off” as we have other things to worry about. It's a massive distraction.

'I've done all mine already – and it's well into double figures.'

Liverpool face summer of discontent

Summer of discontent ahead for Liverpool as inquest into turbulent season begins

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 6 May 2012

They had billed it as the game when judgments could finally be made: a season-defining battle that would solve all those unanswered riddles.

In many ways, they were right. Liverpool’s FA Cup final defeat by Chelsea provided clarity on several key issues, such as the squad (it needs reshaping and strengthening), Andy Carroll (he deserves a chance to shine) and the campaign (it will be viewed with bitter disappointment).

Yet, wholly in keeping with this most puzzling 10 months, a fresh set of dilemmas emerged from the wreckage of their latest trip to Wembley, conundrums that must be tackled swiftly to prevent Liverpool being cut adrift from England’s elite teams.

Plenty to ponder: Kenny Dalglish watches his side lose to Chelsea

Plenty to ponder: Kenny Dalglish watches his side lose to Chelsea

Suddenly the picture of how Liverpool will move forward through the summer is murky and none of the club’s hierarchy would say plans are in place. Or who will oversee them.

Defeat led to inevitable conjecture about Kenny Dalglish’s position. Some supporters are open to the idea of change but the majority are firmly behind a man who was desperate to collect the 28th major honour of his Anfield career.

Yet, on this occasion, the words of reassurance that some longed for were absent. Managing Director Ian Ayre scuttled briskly through the media corridor, declining all interview requests, while principal owner John W Henry offered nothing more than convivial handshakes and ‘hellos’.

Dalglish batted away questions about his relationship with Henry. ‘We will wait and assess the season for everything that contributes to it until after the last games are finished,’ he said. ‘I cannot be any more honest than that. Everybody is going to sit down and assess what has happened.’

Decision time: Liverpool's owner John W Henry has a tough job on his hands

Decision time: Liverpool's owner John W Henry has a tough job on his hands

While it is vital to discover why the wheels came off in the Premier League, all eyes will be on Anfield to see how the massive improvements will be made.

Firstly, it is imperative Fenway Sports Group appoint a director of football to oversee the financial, scouting and contractual duties that have been left unattended since Damien Comolli was sacked. Dalglish has said as much himself.

Secondly, it is crucial that FSG decide quickly whether Dalglish is the man for them. If the doubt remains, the inconsistency that has blighted Liverpool’s season will not be expunged. ‘We have been two different teams this season,’ said a disconsolate Steven Gerrard. ‘We have not been good enough in the league but we have done exceptionally well in the cups.

‘There are no excuses. We as players need to take responsibility for that showing because the players we have in the dressing room are certainly not eighth best in the league.’

Down and out: Steven Gerrard is dejected after his Liverpool side lost

Down and out: Steven Gerrard is dejected after his Liverpool side lost

Pepe Reina, Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel are all top performers and the injured Lucas will be another plus, while Carroll seems to have come of age.

How things have changed for the 35million man. Having had to contend with criticism for buying him, Dalglish now finds himself being criticised for not starting Carroll.

It remains a curious fact that the England striker has not started more than three consecutive games this season.

‘We are Liverpool — we will bounce back,’ said Gerrard. ‘We will strengthen in the summer and we will come back and fight again. That’s what this club does. All through my career it’s been about highs and lows. This is a big low but we will be back. I will be back. We are Liverpool.’

David Moyes imposes Everton gagging order

Moyes enforces Everton gagging order ahead of Liverpool cup game

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 8 April 2012

Everton manager David Moyes has imposed a gagging order ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

Under Moyes’ instruction, the club refused media requests for players after their 2-2 draw with Norwich City, perhaps fearing they could reveal too much ahead of Saturday’s crucial cup game.

Whether these tightened measures would be in place if Everton had drawn anyone besides their derby rivals is unknown, but it is unusual for a club to withhold all players from the press.

Impact: Nikica Jelavic has had a dramatic impact

Impact: Nikica Jelavic has had a dramatic impact

Captain Phil Neville was the only one to give an interview – and that was to the club’s official TV channel.

Moyes was also reticent about discussing possible team changes ahead of tonight’s Premier League tie with Sunderland.

His response when asked if he would shuffle the pack and to whether or not the FA Cup is his priority was simply: ‘I am not going to tell you.’

However, he admits a busy schedule is taking its toll.

‘Sunderland also have two games which is tough, and we will have the same sort of demands on our players,’ he said.

‘But it has been done for years so we will get on with it and see how it is.

‘It would be nave if in some way the cup game didn’t affect [the players]. But I hope not.

‘We are in a pretty good league position, better than maybe we thought we were going to be in and we want to try and hang onto that if we can.’

Moyes also said one of his key priorities is to keep his players as fit as possible and, after fielding a near full-strength team on Saturday, is likely to rearrange the squad for Monday's match.

Dutch midfielder Royston Drenthe could return from extended compassionate leave and Marouane Fellaini may start.

zone

Racing whip rule changes: Amendments agreed

Racing chiefs rubber stamp softening of whip rule changes for Cheltenham

Sweeping changes to the controversial whip rules are set to come into effect before the Cheltenham Festival.

In his first major challenge since being
appointed the British Horseracing Authority's new chief executive, Paul
Bittar proposed fresh amendments which were approved at a board
meeting.

The board has given the thumbs-up to a fundamental change to the rules governing use of the whip, which is due to be implemented in early March, together with revisions to the existing penalty structure, which come into effect on Thursday.

Whipped into shape: The rules are about to changed once again

Whipped into shape: The rules are about to changed once again

Rather than it being an automatic breach when a rider uses the whip eight times on the Flat and nine times over jumps, the figures become the trigger point for the stewards to review the ride in question.

Stewards will then consider how the rider has used the whip in the course of exceeding the allowed number before deciding whether a breach has occurred and a penalty is warranted.

Bittar said: 'Over four months have passed since the introduction of the first set of rules following the whip review.

'Despite a number of changes to both the rule and the accompanying penalty structure it is clear that while many objectives of the review are being met, and in particular those pertaining to horse welfare, a rule which polices the use of the whip based solely on a fixed number of strikes is fundamentally flawed.

Leap of faith: There was an outcry from the racing fraternity when the new rules were first introduced

Leap of faith: There was an outcry from the racing fraternity when the new rules were first introduced

'While well intentioned, and in accordance with initial requests from the jockeys for clarity and consistency via a fixed number, in practice the new rules have repeatedly thrown up examples of no consideration being given to the manner in which the whip is used as well as riders being awarded disproportionate penalties for the offence committed.

'The challenge is to have in place a rule and penalty structure which meets the objectives for fairness and proportionality outlined in the Whip Review while retaining the positives which have been a product of the changes to date.

'These include the virtual removal of all serious breaches and an overall reduction in the number of offences.

'We are confident there is not a welfare problem associated with the use of the cushioned whip in British racing.

'The objective of this proposal is to keep jockeys riding to a similar standard as they are now with regard to their significantly reduced use of the whip, but with added discretion and common sense applied by stewards when considering whether a rider is in breach of the rules.'

Bittar's aim has been to try to prevent the Cheltenham Festival being overshadowed by the issue that has dogged the sport under both codes since last October.

Andre Villas-Boas rules out Chelsea return for Alex

“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

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

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

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.’

Chelsea closing on Gary Cahill – Andre Villas-Boas

AVB admits Chelsea are closing on Cahill but refuses to offer outcast Alex a chance

Andre Villas-Boas says he is “extremely interested” in Gary Cahill but will not bring Alex in from the cold, even if it means Chelsea starting Boxing Day”s west London derby with John Terry as their only fit centre-half.

Any defensive crisis may last no more than a week, with Bolton boss Owen Coyle confirming the club were in talks with Chelsea over the transfer of Cahill.

Villas-Boas said of Cahill, who Wanderers must sell to avoid losing for free in the summer: “He is extremely interesting, a player of course that terminates his contract.

Close eye: Andre Villas-Boas (left) watches Chelsea train at Cobham on Saturday

Close eye: Andre Villas-Boas (left) watches Chelsea train at Cobham on Saturday

“But we would be stupid if we shortened our targets just to one.”

He added: “I think you know that we will be in the market for a centre-half. It”s pretty obvious based on the fact that we”ve accepted Alex”s transfer request.

“We”ll have to let the market open and then find out what happens regarding Alex.

“We will have to respond quickly in the market, not because of the urgency but because we”re willing to fillthat position with one more central defender.”

Blues boss Villas-Boas was asked on Wednesday whether he would reverse his decision to banish Alex from his first-team squad should the club suffer an injury crisis.

Despite having previously claimed Alex and Nicolas Anelka, who were sidelined after submitting transfer requests, could force their way back into his plans, he declared the former would not be recalled – even if the worst happened.

Only fit centre-half John Terry (right) with Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres

Only fit centre-half John Terry (right) with Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres

Barely 24 hours later, it did, with Branislav Ivanovic limping out of Thursday night”s 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Tottenham. Asked afterwards if he had changed his mind about Alex ahead of Monday”s game against Fulham, Villas-Boas simply said: “No”.

In fairness, Chelsea coped admirably at White Hart Lane with the loss of Ivanovic, despite Jose Bosingwa being forced to move from right-back to centre-half for what was possibly the first time in his entire Stamford Bridge career.

Paulo Ferreira also impressed at right-back having not previously featured in the Premier League this season.

“This was a fantastic adaptation and another solution that we have in the squad,” Villas-Boas said.

With Ivanovic almost certainly out of Monday”s match, Villas-Boas was hoping David Luiz would return from the knee problem that has sidelined him from the last two games.

Top target: Bolton defender Gary Cahill (left) is on his way to Chelsea

Top target: Bolton defender Gary Cahill (left) is on his way to Chelsea

Otherwise, he insisted he would even consider playing young midfielder Oriol Romeu alongside Terry rather than turn to Alex.

“Hopefully, David can return for contention for the game against Fulham,” he said. “But, if not, from Oriol to Bosingwa, both can play in that position – and Paulo has done it in the past.”

Chelsea have also been heavily linked with a loan move for Juventus winger Milos Krasic, who has been touted as a replacement for Shanghai-bound Anelka and cover for Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou when they depart on African Nations Cup duty.

Krasic”s signing would allow Daniel Sturridge to deputise at centre-forward, with Fernando Torres still struggling for form and looking increasingly unlikely to find it sat on the bench.

On his way out: Alex

On his way out: Alex

Frank Lampard is of the same opinion about his own lot, with the midfielder having now been left out for the last three big games.

The 33-year-old will return to the side on Monday after Ramires picked up his fifth domestic booking of the season at White Hart Lane.

Villas-Boas said: “Lamps is an exceptional player and his level of commitment and his level of talent will never be in doubt.

“I”m sure he”ll make his way back into the team again with the way he fights in training to try to get back into contention.”

Fourth-placed Chelsea are also fighting to get back into contention in a title race which sees them 11 points behind leaders Manchester City, but Villas-Boas was expecting a backlash from a Fulham side thrashed 5-0 at home by Manchester United on Wednesday night.

He said: “A result like that, also the result that they got in the Europa League, generates revolt and generates anger, which can fuel emotions for a London derby that is extremely difficult for us.”