Under-fire AVB demands '300%' improvement
Andre Villas-Boas insists Chelsea need a “300%” improvement if they are to avoid more embarrassment in Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round replay at Birmingham amid increased speculation his job is under threat.
Villas-Boas conceded himself he was under extra pressure after a 1-0 defeat at West Brom yesterday provided a further dent to Chelsea’s hopes of securing Champions League football next season.
Of most alarm was Villas-Boas’ acknowledgement the expensively assembled side at his disposal were second best in all departments against a team put together for a fraction of the cost.
A late goal from central defender Gareth McAuley settled the issue, but Chelsea’s Petr Cech was the busier of the two goalkeepers throughout.
When asked about his future, Villas-Boas said: “I just get on with my job. That is a question only the owner (Roman Abramovich) has the power to decide.
“Only they have the power to say something. We just have to go on with things. We have the FA Cup tie at Birmingham and we will have to do 300% better.
“It is only a couple of days to that game but we have to show our level. We have shown in the past that we can come back from bad situations like at West Brom. We have to be much, much better.”
The Champions League return clash with Napoli may be the point of no return for Villas-Boas in 10 days’ time if Chelsea fail to overcome a 3-1 first-leg deficit.
But a run of just three wins in the last 12 Barclays Premier League games is also of major concern and the defeat at the Hawthorns leaves Chelsea three points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal.
Villas-Boas said: “It has not been good enough for quite some time because we are fifth and, when that is the case, there is something wrong.
“We don’t win enough and that number (three wins in 12) is not a number that makes us proud.
“But in football there is pain and joy and we have another chance at Birmingham, but we have do much better if we want to go through to the quarter-finals.”
In contrast, West Brom are on a high after a third successive win lifted them into the top half of the table and virtually secured top-flight football for a third season on the trot.
It has lifted the profile of head coach Roy Hodgson at a time when England are searching for a new manager, although he insists he is focused fully on the Baggies.
But Hodgson hopes whoever is appointed is not decided by one or two results, with caretaker boss Stuart Pearce being written off in some quarters after the midweek defeat to Holland.
Hodgson said: “It’s sad to hear that you win one game and you’re an England candidate and when you lose you’re not.
“Let’s wait until next week and we might lose at Old Trafford and then we’ll see what is said.
“But I’m not involving myself in that. The FA have been forced into a situation where they need to look for a new coach because Fabio Capello has resigned and they’ve got time to do it.
“They will take their time and they will have their ideas I’m sure of what they’re looking for.
“It’s their business and my business, quite frankly, is West Bromwich Albion, and I must get on with my job here.
“But I would like to think one day the next England coach won’t be selected on the basis of one games or two games, but selected because people genuinely feel he is the right man for the job.”
Hodgson was full of pride for Albion’s performance and said: “I can’t remember winning three games in a row too many times in my seven years in the Premier League.
“But we’ve done it the hard away with a derby win at Wolves, then against an in-form Sunderland and now Chelsea. We haven’t done it against weak opponents.”