Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas faced the media today at Cobham ahead of the Blues visit to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke on Sunday. The confident Portuguese tactician laid bare his desire for success and outlined the clubs ambitions for the coming season but stopped s
“I doubt that I am the high profile manager of the Premiership. There are other who have had great success for many years and I hope to live up to their standards, we aim to live at this club with the highest level of excellence and aim to win back the title that we lost. This first challenge is important for us.”
Villas Boas reign so far has been characterized by steady progress and evolution as opposed to the radical overhaul in playing staff and personnel that many quarters had predicted at the start of his time in SW6.
“It is my challenge, it is our challenge to win back the title. In my opinion these players are able to compete. That is the end of the story. It does not mean that we are not moving in the market. It does not mean that things will not just happen. You can see that they happened with Courtois, Romeu and Lukaku.”
New signings have come at a premium for the Londoner’s during the transfer window but the club has been far from inactive, securing deals for emerging young talents including the Brazilian star Lucas Piazon, Barcelona defensive midfielder and Spain U20 international Oriol Romeu and Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois signed from Genk.
The protracted deal to bring Romelu Lukaku to Stamford Bridge seemed to have drawn to a close when the Blues agreed a fee with Anderlecht for the teenagers services, but despite a recent delay in the talks, Villas Boas revealed the deal is moving forward and was full of praise of the Belgian teen.
“We are outlining the details, he (Lukaku) is one of those players we could not afford to lose. After everything that he has been doing over the last couple of years we had to advance our plans. It was threat to let this boy escape….now it is a question of hours not days to get this done.”
“There is no problems with him playing now, but it is difficult to build relationships on the pitch and also off of it.”
The clubs pursuit of Luka Modric has been well publicized however the manager would not be drawn on the subject.
“I have no more comments to make, he is not our player so I cannot speak about this.”
Villas Boas was in defiant mood when questioned on his age and duly pointed to the incredible haul of silverware that the young manager secured during his time at Porto. Comparisons to his predecessor and one time mentor at Porto and Chelsea, Jose Mourinho will no doubt be raised once again but Villas Boas will be defined by his successes and failures in West London.
“Its indifferent (the comparisons), it will come from players, it will come from the media, im not that guy, it it not in my personality to copy people. I am just me. I have no problem with it.
I don’t agree, people when it comes to Chelsea people are too concerned with age, the players are too old and the manager too young.”
Fernando Torres has been heavily criticized since his high profile transfer from Liverpool in January however the Spaniard had impressed during a promising pre-season that saw him score in the win over Aston Villa. A head injury whilst away on duty with the Spanish national side left him a doubt for the Stoke clash, but Villas Boas revealed that Torres is fit and available for selection, though the manager would not be drawn on his starting X1.
“Torres will be ok to be selected for the team that will travel to Stoke. He has trained well today and he can play.
This week has been disrupted, because of the international break, most of the players have come back with more than 60 minutes, many with 90minutes, it is difficult because it disrupts your preparation. We are getting in line to our starting X1. Regarding the full squad we do not have a lot of players available because we have short squad in this moment.
We are in favour of a 4-3-3- formation, you know this, there are a few forwards competing for that central striker position. So I will take a decision.”
The manager was quick to lay down the gauntlet to Manchester United and he believes that his Chelsea side has the strength in depth and in character to overhaul the current champions.
“I don’t care, I just want to be first, above all teams.”
“I think for sure in the beginning we have to show ourselves at the highest level we can perform. I think that all of the players can challenge themselves at the start.”