It has been a terrific ten days for Andre Villas-Boas as he has seen his side win away at high flying Newcastle, followed up with two huge home wins over Valencia and Manchester City. Cutting the gap to the league leaders and qualifying for the knock out stages of the Champions League all in the space of a week has changed some peoples opinion of the under fire manager.
However, off the pitch it has been less than harmonious. Frank Lampard revealed he is confused as to why he is being left out of the Blues side and Nicolas Anelka and Alex have put in transfer requests after an alleged training ground bust up with AVB.
It was reported last week that AVB confronted his whole Chelsea squad after defeats to Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool twice in a week. Just as the squad finished training he confronted them as a group and then picked all of them out individually, criticising their performance and lifestyles since he has been at the club.
A Chelsea insider revealed to The Sun last week: “It was unbelievable. The manager would look at a player, tear him to shreds, then move on to the next one.
“For example, he turned to Didier Drogba and told him, ‘You’re a fraction of the player you were last season’.”
The worst criticism though was saved for unfavoured striker Anelka and defender Alex. The insider claimed that AVB simply told both of them that he didn’t want to see them at the training ground again and they both had transfer requests accepted last week.
It appears that AVB cracked under the pressure that he had been put under by the supporters and press at the West London club since he arrived in the summer. Both players have barely played under the Portuguese boss, but he felt it was necessary to humiliate them even more than he had the rest of the squad.
Why not just let them leave in January and not cause a fracas in the squad that could affect the players’ loyalty towards him.
The 34-year-old former Porto boss made examples of players that he simply deemed not good enough for his squad. He showed a huge lack of respect to two high class footballers that the majority of clubs around Europe would be happy to have in their squad. Despite all the reports AVB believes he is in the right and that neither player should feel hard done by as that it what happens in football.
“Neither Anelka or Alex were badly treated by Chelsea,” he insisted after last night’s 2-1 home win over league leaders Manchester City.
“We reached an agreement with the Chinese side for Anelka. We decided to fine tune our side to what we are doing in training. It’s normal to part company with players and we wish him all the best.”
Despite the training ground bust up, the side have improved in recent weeks and a change in tactics and approach have worked for the Blues who are now seven points from the summit of the Premier League. AVB showed the Chelsea players who is the boss and I am sure that the Blues players will be putting every effort in not to be the next in the line of fire.
However, Anelka and Alex are both respected players in the world of football and for the new ‘big money’ manager at Stamford Bridge to banish them is totally unprofessional. Yes, Anelka has not got a terrific reputation with his relationship with managers, but no such rift has been reported at the Bridge and was this just an attack on players that were in no position to defend themselves.
AVB knew that the two players would be leaving in January; due to the lack of first team football; but he felt it appropriate to throw them out of the door instead of let them go on their own accord. More rants over a tunnel bust up with City and Gary Neville’s punditry followed and it appears that AVB is struggling to deal with the pressure of managing in England, even if people will get carried away with a couple of results.