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Lonely boy: AVB defends Chelsea tactics after nightmare in Naples

“You can have your opinion but it was based on what was the best team in my thoughts,” an under-fire Villas-Boas said after last night’s 3-1 defeat to Napoli.

Andre Villas-Boas: what next for the Chelsea manager?
Andre Villas-Boas: what next for the Chelsea manager?
Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

A DEFIANT Andre Villas-Boas stood over his gameplan last night after his decision to drop some of Chelsea’s biggest names backfired and left the Londoners on the brink of Champions League exit.

Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Fernando Torres all started on the bench as Napoli took a major step towards the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win in the Stadio San Paolo.

Goals from Edinson Cavani and a double from Ezequiel Lavezzi helped Walter Mazzari’s side come from behind after Juan Mata had opened the scoring for the visitors.

Afterwards, Villas-Boas was forced to explain the leftfield selections which extended Chelsea’s winless streak to five games in all competitions.

“You can have your opinion but it was based on what was the best team in my thoughts,” Villas-Boas said (ESPN.co.uk). “Whatever explanation I give you, in the end it would be a fantastic explanation if we’d won the game.

Any explanation is now useless given the result of the game, so there’s no point.

Lampard and Cole both confronted Villas-Boas when they discovered that they were not in the starting eleven, but the manager denied speculation that the decisions were anything but tactical.

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Jose Bosingwa started on the left side of defence but was forced off with an injury in the 12th minute and replaced by Cole, who has been sidelined with a groin injury of his own in recent weeks.

“We wanted two hard-working midfielders sitting in front of the defence”, Villas-Boas explained. “That’s not to say Lamps could not do it, but that was the decision we took. They were technical decisions.

Through the players that they are and the players with the experience they have, they felt they could have helped the team. That’s perfectly understandable. Of course they were disappointed but they were decisions they had to accept and move on.

As it happened: Napoli v Chelsea, Champions League

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