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Andre Villas-Boas Strikes Back

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A funny thing happened a few days ago. Chelsea, at risk of falling out of the Premier League top four for the first time since history began, with an unpopular manager, a trigger-happy owner and a string of pretty miserable performances, did not fire anyone after losing 2-0 at Goodison Park. It's not like it was an unfortunate scoreline, misrepresenting the way the team played. It was an absolute atrocity, the sort of game that gets managers pushed off the cliff.

And yet here we are. Andre Villas-Boas is still at Cobham rather than being shipped off to some penal colony in Siberia. And, incredibly, the manager is starting to throw some punches of his own:

I have no less or more authority from the way you are putting it. My authority is total because it's the owner's authority.

[The players who don't like it] don't have to back my project. It's the owner who backs my project. I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have.

-Source: Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle.

Compared to what's happened to past managers of Chelsea when they've disappointed, this is a crazy development. I'm also not that sure it's a sensible one. If Andre Villas-Boas wasn't so loud about how awesome he is (which is apparent to those of us who followed Porto last season, but has completely failed to manifest itself during his tenure with the Blues), that'd be one, thing, but to air dirty laundry in the media is something else entirely.

I really don't get it. It would be pretty simple to explain to his players that he has the owner's backing and that they should buck up or get out without playing all of this drama out in public, but he's chosen exactly the wrong path, in my opinion. No matter whether or not you support Andre Villas-Boas as manager, I don't think it's reasonable to assert that this was the right way for him to have gone about his business - staying quiet and keeping this internal would be far more sensible.

The only thing I can think of that would make this move make any sense at all is if Villas-Boas is issueing Roman Abramovich a direct challenge via the media - fire me or back me. If that's true, he's playing a very dangerous game.