It’s been something of a baptism of fire for 34-year-old Andre Villas-Boas since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in the summer. In Portugal, Villas-Boas did remarkably well and his treble winning Porto team was completely behind their manager, but now when the chips are down with Chelsea, it seems his squad isn’t completely behind him.
The successful team of Jose Mourinho’s era at Chelsea has been nearing its conclusion as age catches up with some of the players, Drogba, Lampard, Cole and Terry are all over 30 and if Villas-Boas was to make Chelsea a serious contender in English and European football then a radical shake up was needed.
This didn’t happen, and although two of the senior squad members in Anelka and Alex were sold, this didn’t go down well with the players who reportedly organized a leaving party for the pair despite him ordering that his didn’t happen.
The other impact on team morale has been the role of Lampard, since his move to Chelsea from West Ham, Lampard has been the most prominent player at the club amassing over 550 appearance on his way to becoming the third highest goal scorer in the clubs history. This season has been different, with Lampard already making 6 substitute appearances so far, more than any other season in Lampard’s Chelsea career.
This hasn’t gone down well with Lampard who has been seen looking less than impressed while sitting on the bench, and after Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Manchester City in December, where Lampard came off the bench to score the winner, Lampard said:
“I want to play, simple as that I’m as fit as I’ve ever been. I’ve been in a good run of form and now I’ve not been playing.
“I haven’t spoken [to Villas-Boas] so I don’t know [why], simple as that.”
Since then, forums have been full of fans criticising the manager for leaving out such an inspirational player, but the truth is, Lampard isn’t the same box-to-box midfielder that he used to be, it’s just nature.
The recent 2-0 defeat at Everton left many claiming the players were not showing enough passion or commitment to the cause, meaning yet again fans took the forums, while the press set about writing stories about the increased pressure Villas-Boas was under. And it certainly didn’t help with the owner turning up to the training ground and Mourinho declaring he wants to move back to the Premier League.
Villas-Boas has attempted to bring a new footballing philosophy to Chelsea, which so far just hasn’t quite worked out, so his squad should be working twice as hard to make it work for their manager. During the Terry racism allegations, Villas-Boas has stuck by his captain unlike England, Torres hasn’t scored for over 1000 minutes but Villas-Boas has stuck by the misfiring Spaniard, even when some fans are calling time on his Chelsea career.
Is it too much to ask that these players show some support back?
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