Thursday 14 December 2017

‘Jose text messages have hurt Blues boss’

PORTO president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa has claimed Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is having his work undermined by senior Blues players still in contact with former boss Jose Mourinho.

The man responsible for giving both coaches their big breaks in football said that Villas-Boas would deliver but the lingering shadow of Mourinho was affecting affairs at Stamford Bridge.

“He will be successful with Chelsea because his contract isn’t just for one year,” Pinto da Costa said.

“He needs time to mould his own team and he can’t do that as long as there are players, as I’ve heard, who exchange text messages with Mourinho. And (Roman) Abramovich knows this.”

The Porto president added to the sense of insecurity around the Chelsea manager yesterday when he said that Internazionale would be interested in the young coach if he was finally forced out of Stamford Bridge.

There are no immediate plans to remove Villas-Boas from his role at Chelsea but, as ever at the club, it is a fluid situation and there is always the potential for change from one result to the next.

The claim from Pinto da Costa, who insisted on Chelsea paying the £15million escape clause in Villas-Boas’s contract last summer, suggests that the issue of the manager’s future is being discussed in the higher echelons of European football.

Pinto da Costa added he could envisage a situation where Villas-Boas again followed in Mourinho’s footsteps and joined Inter if sacked by Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Fabio Capello’s proposed move to take over at Anzhi Makhachkala, the |big-spending Russian league club, has not yet gone through and there are suggestions he may be waiting to see how the situation pans out at Chelsea. Capello would come with the added benefit of Chelsea being able to appoint him without the obligation of compensation payments.

While Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, was at the training ground last week, his mood was understood to be very different to that of three years ago when he sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari in February.

Chelsea have won just one of their last five games in all competitions and cannot afford to slip up at home to Birmingham City in the FA Cup on Saturday, much less in their two-legged Champions League tie with Napoli.

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