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Monday 11 December 2017

Villas-Boas says player power will not force him to quit

ANDRE Villas-Boas has no fear of being forced out of Chelsea by player power, despite admitting he may have lost the backing of some of his squad.

Blues boss Villas-Boas declared he retained the "full" support of the only man who matters at Stamford Bridge, even if Roman Abramovich (pictured) chose not to publicly declare it.

Indeed, Villas-Boas - whose side face Birmingham at home in the FA Cup tomorrow - claimed he would be more worried if the Russian did break his long public silence over the club he has poured more than £1billion into to give his manager a vote of confidence.

The Portuguese was more than content with private assurances that the owner would not bow to the kind of mutiny which previous Chelsea managers have suggested led to their own undoing.

Asked if he was confident that Abramovich listened to him ahead of the players, Villas-Boas said: "Yeah, for sure."

Insisting he was "really not concerned" about being ousted by those who reportedly challenged him openly during a team meeting on Sunday, he added: "My authority is total because it's the owner's authority."

Asked whether all of the players backed him, he said: "They don't have to back my project. It's the owner who backs my project."

Pressed further on whether certain individuals were against the changes he was making, he said: "That is normal."

Acknowledging Abramovich was angry with results that have left Chelsea on course for their worst season since the Russian bought the club, Villas-Boas understandably refused to call for a public vote of confidence.

"One of the most funny things in football is the vote of confidence," he said, declaring his relationship with Abramovich was "perfect". Whenever somebody gives the vote of confidence, it's the end. So I think, in the end, in a situation like this where we are, it would not make any difference."

Speculation has been rife over Villas-Boas' future since Sunday's meeting, which he called after hauling in his players on their day off following the previous afternoon's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton.

Villas-Boas denied rowing with members of his squad or that his tactics and team selection had been criticised, but he acknowledged some of his stars no longer backed his attempts to revamp the Stamford Bridge club. Senior stars reportedly want Abramovich to send an SOS to Guus Hiddink.

But despite working with players who may have lost faith in him, Villas-Boas claimed he could still get them to perform.

"Because we defend this crest," he said, pointing to the Chelsea badge on his training top.

"We are given full conditions, talent-wise and facilities-wise, because they pay us well and they don't pay us to be a failure.

"So there is demand for us to be successful and everybody understands this."

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