Andre Villas-Boas has denied accusations of player power at Chelsea but admitted that injured captain John Terry went into the referee’s room at half-time of the 1-1 draw against Birmingham City to complain about time-wasting by opposition goalkeeper Colin Doyle.
Villas-Boas reacted angrily to the suggestion by TV hosts ESPN that Didier Drogba held an impromptu team talk with the rest of the players in the tunnel shortly before the start of the second half.
After making a sarcastic comment, the Portugese said in his post-match press conference: “It is ridiculous to say that Didier gave a team talk. It didn’t happen. It makes no sense. I have nothing to say. I just gave an interview to ESPN. If I had known they were saying this I would have refused.”
Nevertheless, Villas-Boas said he was aware that Terry approached referee Martin Atkinson during the interval even though he was only a spectator at Stamford Bridge.
“We were worried about the time-wasting from the goalkeeper,” he explained. “I went to the dressing room to prepare my team talk. He [Terry] might have gone in [to see Atkinson]. It was because of the time wasting. At the end the referee only gave three minutes of added time, which was shocking.”
It was another difficult afternoon for under-fire boss Villas-Boas, who admitted his team deserve an FA Cup fifth round replay at St Andrews on March 6.
“The performance was not good enough,” he said. “For sure, it wasn’t. In the second half we were a bit better but we didn’t do enough to win the game.
“It will be a difficult game at St Andrews, for certain. Birmingham are undefeated in the league at home and I’m sure they will give us an even more difficult challenge.”
Villas-Boas substituted Fernando Torres at half-time after another disappointing display from the £50million striker, who extended his score-less run to 19 games.
“I’m sure he didn’t take it lightly but it was a decision for the good of the team,” he said. “It was a decision we had to make. We were going more direct in the second half with Didier acting as a targetman to shield the ball and do his lay-offs.
“Fernando is a super talent. Things will get better for him. As the team wins he will get more confidence and as he gets more goals he will be more confident.”
Villas-Boas refused to be drawn into his own future ahead of the pivotal Champions League trip to Napoli on Tuesday but accepted it was a talking point.
He said: “It is normal with the results we are having. But it is not up to me. You have to ask that question to the right person.
“The situation is we don’t have enough good results to feel proud. We need an extra mental push to feel the confidence in a right way. It is about results. Until we get out of this cycle it perpetuates.
“Napoli is a strong team but we are a strong team and we believe. It is a difficult game but we have a chance, to be sure.”
Villas-Boas gave a pessimistic update on John Terry's knee injury, which has kept him out of the last four matches, ahead of the visit to Napoli.
“It's a 50-50 chance,” said the Portugese. “He is very doubtful but we will take him anyway. He wants to play but he is struggling with his knee injury. He trained 100 per cent with us two days ago. The day after (Friday) he couldn't train with us because he felt a lot of pain in his knee."
Villas-Boas is also not certain that Ashley Cole will be fit for Tuesday's match. “Hopefully we will have Ashley training tomorrow. There is a chance he will make it for the Napoli trip.”
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