London: Under pressure Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has admitted that club owner Roman Abramovich had asked him to justify his team selection against Napoli in the first leg of the Champions League tie against Napoli.
He said he replied to Abramovich through the team’s technical director Michael Emenalo. Villas-Boas explained the reasons behind leaving left back Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard on the bench in the 3-1 defeat, and is persistent that he picked the right team.
“I have not spoken to him [Abramovich]. I have spoken to persons near to him. He is disappointed about the result and asking questions about how we set up the team and they were duly explained,” Villas-Boas said. “I spoke to the people close to the owner to transmit the message,” he added.
“People like Emenalo and these people. That is the normal way we communicate. He just wants to know the thought process,” he said.
Villas-Boas is confident Chelsea can still turn the game in their favour when Napoli visits Stamford Bridge in the second leg. “We shared ideas regarding what happened in the game but we still have 90 minutes to play and we strongly believe we can turn the tie around,” Villas-Boas added.
When asked whether he had sought for any more assurance from Abramovich regarding his job, Villas-Boas said, “My assurance is my work and his words and my project for the following seasons. I don’t ask every day on the phone, ‘Am I going to be here tomorrow?’ “I don’t have any regrets regarding team selection against Napoli. I did the best for the team and it was the selection I felt was completely right. The team was well set up,” he added.
Villas-Boas decision to leave two of the senior most players at Chelsea, Cola and Lampard on the substitute bench in such a crucial fixture came under heavy media scrutiny.