On the surface of it, Andres Villas-Boas might appear the cool,
calm and collected individual his Portuguese processor once was, but unlike Jose
Mourinho, Chelsea’s young manager must have been a nervous wreck inside.
The West London club’s fixture against Valencia last night set
itself up as a must win game and though Villas Boas has remained confident that a
return to form was imminent, the pressure must have been immense. And, to be fair to the blues boss, he was right,
as Chelsea ran riot over a more than capable Valencia side to win 3-0.
During his post-match interview Villas-Boas appeared to be quite sharp
when questioned about his run of poor performances over the past few weeks.
Clearly resentful of the criticism he had faced, the Portuguese
manager said that Chelsea’s win was a ‘slap in the face’ to those critics who
had panned the Blues lack of form from recent weeks.
Only a win for Chelsea would guarantee them passage to the
knockout stages of the Champions League. And a win they got which meant that the Blues
ended the group stages topping Group E ahead of German outfit Bayern Leverkusen, who could only manage
a draw to bottom of the table Genk.
Villas-Boas spoke openly of the pressures that this win had chased
away, linking their situation to that of Manchester City.
The Premier League leaders also have a must win game against
Bayern Munich tonight, a game in which Mancini believes his team can win.
But for the Chelsea manager, there were clear signs of unrest as
he called the media’s recent coverage on the club as a ‘continuous
Villas Boas even went as far as to blast Sky’s latest pre-match
pundit Gary Neville, for his comments in the build-up to the match.
The former Manchester United defender talked about how the tension
brought about by a string of bad results would strain the players and even
hinder their performance. Neville even went as far as saying the he would not fancy being in the Chelsea player’s shoes during this game.
Villas Boas was more upbeat though on the topic of the game,
praising goal scorers Didier Drogba and Ramires.
Beneath that cool, calm persona, there were clear signs of relief
for the Blues boss. He conceded that
finishing at the top of the table was ‘against all odds’. He added; ‘Nobody would have put a bet on us
finishing top but it has happened and it is very satisfying.’
The draw for the champions league final 16 is on Friday 16th