Villas-Boas seeks relief against Bolton

24 February 2012 01:46

Andre Villas-Boas admits he was forced to answer questions from owner Roman Abramovich about Chelsea's Champions League defeat in Naples.

And the Chelsea manager can expect another interrogation if his side fail to take advantage of the opportunity to strike a blow in the battle for fourth place by beating struggling Bolton at Stamford Bridge.

Villas-Boas's team currently lie fifth, trailing Arsenal on goal difference, but will leap-frog their London rivals if they avoid defeat 24 hours before Arsene Wenger's side take on Tottenham.

In previous seasons, few would have backed against anything other than a home victory, but after another difficult week, nothing can be assured.

Still reeling from the failure to beat Championship Birmingham at home in the FA Cup fifth round, Chelsea were humbled 3-1 by Napoli in the first leg of the last 16 clash when Villas-Boas's decision to omit several senior players -- including Frank Lampard and Ashely Cole -- sparked controversy.

And Villas-Boas admitted Abramovich had sought answers via the club's technical director Michael Emenalo.

"He is disappointed about the result and asking questions about how we set up the team and they were duly explained," he said.

"Again, we shared ideas regarding what happened in the game and how they happen but we still have 90 minutes to play and we strongly believe we can turn the tie around.

"I spoke to the people close to the owner to transmit the message. That is the normal way we communicate. I see it as normal. He just wants to know the thought process."

Villas-Boas remains convinced he has the owner's backing but he knows his side must halt the recent run of results that threatens to leave the club without a trophy or a place in next season's Champions League.

He insists his relationship with Cole and Lampard remains sound but admits the loss of captain John Terry to a knee injury for six weeks is a major blow.

"We will badly miss him. It is a massive, massive loss. He is a leader and has been a great performer even through adversity," Villas-Boas said.

Fernando Torres missed training because of illness on Thursday but is expected to be fit to play.

Villas-Boas will find an ally in the opposition dug-out in Bolton manager Owen Coyle.

The Bolton manager and Villas-Boas did a coaching course together in 2007 and is sure that his friend will find a way to resolve his problems at Stamford Bridge.

His team remain in the relegation zone after their 2-1 defeat to Wigan before the break for the FA Cup.

"They are led by an outstanding manager, someone who I know extremely well," he said.

"Andre has come into the club and looked at how he can progress them for many years to come and I'm sure he'll do that.

"We now go into two away games against Chelsea and Manchester City and there's no doubt that they are big games for us.

"We also know that even after those games there are points to be had, with a lot of those games at home.

"Our destiny is in our own hands and we're looking forward to the challenge that goes with it."

Midfielder Mark Davies is set to recover from a hamstring injury sustained in 2-0 win over Millwall but Kevin Davies is still out with a knee problem.

Lee Chung-Yong and Stuart Holden remain long-term casualties for Bolton but Marvin Sordell is available again after being cup-tied at Millwall.

Source: AFP