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AVB won't moan about scheduling
Published : 01 Oct 2011 13:49:00
Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed the impact of Manchester United playing before Chelsea during five of the next six Premier League weekends. The opening six rounds of top-flight fixtures saw the Blues kick-off before United on five occasions, the other match being the sides' Old Trafford encounter. Roles will be reversed during the next two months, starting this weekend when United having hosted Norwich before Villas-Boas' men travel to Bolton. The Blues went into the weekend three points adrift of United and Manchester City, and should both pacesetters continue winning, the Londoners will find themselves having to close a six-point gap every time they take to the field in the Premier League during the coming weeks. But Villas-Boas said: "You don't go 'six points behind'. You go 'six points behind having played one game less'. "Or maybe you go three points behind and you have a chance to equal the points." By insisting the final round of fixtures all start at the same time, the Premier League have essentially acknowledged that variable kick-off times do make a difference. But Villas-Boas insisted he "would never" complain about Chelsea having to play catch-up to their title rivals. He added: "It's part of the spectacle for the fans to enjoy the most amount of games as possible. "If it goes your way, it can have an impact on your reaction - I agree with that. "But this is the logic of the distribution from the Premier League." Chelsea will be expected to beat a Bolton side who are propping up the table following a terrible start to the season. The Blues have won on their last eight visits to the Reebok Stadium without conceding a goal and, providing they do not reproduce the kind of wastefulness that has dogged them on their travels of late, they should take all three points. That would pile on the misery for Bolton boss Owen Coyle, who has been a close friend of Villas-Boas since the pair studied together for their UEFA Pro Licence. "We've kept in touch for a long time, exchanging ideas on players," said Villas-Boas. "We spoke a lot during the beginning of my career in England, and also when I was at Porto. "The relationship has been a good relationship throughout and I respect him a lot. "I think the job that he is doing is good. "Things are not going as well as he wanted, for sure, but Owen was always a very demanding person, very focused, very driven person. "Owen, when he arrived, did a fantastic job to take Bolton straight out of the relegation places. "Bad phases during the Premier League can happen to anybody. "But I think, bearing in mind his competence, he will come out of it. "Regarding the table, one or two wins and you are up there in the middle, so things will change for sure." Daniel Sturridge also knows Coyle well after spending the second half of last season on loan at Bolton. The striker looks set for a recall on Sunday along with Didier Drogba, due to the start of a three-match ban for Fernando Torres following his red card against Swansea. Sturridge told Chelsea TV: "I enjoyed my time at Bolton and I have a lot of love for the players and a lot of love for the manager especially, because he gave me the opportunities to showcase what I can do and I don't think I would be in the position I am in now without going to Bolton and without the manager there showing faith in me. "He is a funny character and not just Owen but his staff also, they get involved in training every day and you see the manager scoring goals and celebrating and throwing remarks about. He knows how to motivate a team and he knows how to motivate individuals. "I can't speak highly enough of him and the way he likes to play his football."