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The Blues boss leads a side out for the first time in the competition and doesn't think he will be judged by Abramovich solely on the club's progress in Europe's elite competition

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed suggestions that his side are slipping further away from winning the Champions League, saying there is "no mental block" for his players in the competition.

The Blues have regularly competed in the knockout stages and have finished runners-up once, but with the emergence of Barcelona and the continuing investment in personnel at Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid, there will be more competition than ever.

However, Villas-Boas, who will lead a side out for the first time in the Champions League when Chelsea host Bayer Leverkusen, believes his team are still right up there as contenders for the crown.

He told reporters: "Everybody knows the importance of this competition and that it's the most difficult competition to win.

"You have a lot of good teams competing for one trophy and Barcelona have been there for the last couple of seasons, but we want Chelsea to be there again, as we put our squad together for us to compete in every competition that we're in.

"When it comes to the Champions League, we're always confident. We just have to focus on trying to achieve it.

"It's not just Chelsea as a top European club who haven't won it. Others have not won it and want it.

"Barcelona have added a few more European trophies, but our time will eventually come. We just have to focus on making it one of our objectives, as it has been for the past few seasons.

"So I don't agree that this club is further away than it was. They have been so close. Even this last semi-final they lost against Barcelona, everyone knows how they lost it. If the controversial decisions had fallen in Chelsea's favour, they'd have been in the final.

"I don't think there's a mental block. There's some kind of unpredictability that can take you all the way to the final, sometimes. Other times, it doesn't.

"We've been close to getting it. We just try to be close again this season to go all the way."

Owner Roman Abramovich is desperate for Chelsea to bring the Champions League trophy back to Stamford Bridge, with Carlo Ancelotti's failure to do so counting against him last season when he was sacked despite finishing only a few points behind Manchester United in second in the Premier League after winning a domestic double in his first year in charge.

However, Villas-Boas says the oligarch has not told him to prioritise the competition – which he describes as being more difficult to win than the World Cup – above others, insisting that winning everything is the aim and he will not be judged if he does not follow up his Europa League glory with Porto this year with another continental trophy.

"I don't think it's fair for me to share my conversations with the owner," Villas-Boas added.

"Let's put it generally: we must try to win all the competitions we're in, with a certain flair and style. That's our priority.

"It will become a never-ending pursuit if we address it as the one they've never won, although it's the most difficult to win, for sure.

"I don't think I'll be judged on it. I don't think so, I don't think so, I don't think so.

"The Champions League is more difficult to win than the World Cup because when the players are in it, it's not their sole objective. Most of the clubs in it are competing for domestic honours as well.

"It requires more of the manager's awareness to rotate, to motivate everybody, to keep people fresh.

"Also, normally the team that wins the Champions League also competes domestically and wins their own title.

"You really have to balance the amount of minutes the players have and the recovery minutes they need, so your squad is fresh in both competitions and can compete to the end."

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