Villas-Boas: No deadline set by Abramovich

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has insisted owner Roman Abramovich had not given him a deadline to turn the club's season around, despite facing four defining games in the next fortnight.

The beleaguered Blues host Wolves today knowing anything other than victory could see them slump to seventh in the Barclays Premier League by the end of the weekend or slip even further behind leaders Manchester City.

Chelsea then welcome Liverpool in the Carling Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night before facing Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday week.

Lastly, and arguably most crucially, comes their final Champions League Group E match against Valencia the following Tuesday, which they must win or draw 0-0 to avoid crashing out of the competition.

Abramovich's patience would be tested to the limit if Villas-Boas oversaw two cup exits and more poor league results.

But the Portuguese was adamant that he had not been given a timeframe in which to stop the rot, saying: "The contract is a three-year contract."

However, the length of a manager's contract has never stopped Abramovich wielding the axe in the past and Villas-Boas accepted his job ultimately depended on turning around Chelsea's worst start to a season since the Russian bought the club.

"Results in football are the key to a manager's sustainability," he said. "I have no problem with it.

"I didn't come here to be failure. I came here to be a success.

"It's a project of high expectations (in terms of results) and mine at the moment are negative. There is no running away from that.

"But that doesn't mean that the project won't continue or that we don't have the talent to turn things around.

"It is legitimate that people are not happy, from fans to the media. Nobody wants to change that more than us."

The current slump has resurrected doubts about whether - at 34 and with just two years' managerial experience behind him - Villas-Boas is capable of handling the big egos in the Chelsea dressing room.

But he said: "That is a complete misconception."

Villas-Boas had appeared drained after Chelsea's fourth defeat in seven matches at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

But he looked confident and relaxed on Friday afternoon under the watchful eye of chairman Bruce Buck, who made a surprise appearance at the club's press conference to preview tomorrow's game with Wolves.

Villas-Boas insisted he was sleeping well and even joked he had not expected to see himself on the back pages of newspapers on Friday, despite the mounting pressure.

But events took a more serious turn when he denied reports of player unrest over his tactical changes, which were made after being tasked by Abramovich with getting the club to play more like Barcelona.

Confirming a meeting between players and staff had taken place, Villas-Boas insisted there had been no dissent expressed and that he would have taken any concerns on board.

But he warned any changes would not extend to the overall playing style and was adamant he would not sacrifice his attacking principles to get back to winning ways.

"The philosophy and the way we are set out is not in question, whatsoever," he said.


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