Posted on: Tue 13 Dec 2011
He billed it as a game his team could not afford to lose and thanks to goals from Raul Meireles and Frank Lampard, Andre-Villas was able to speak afterwards about a win over Man City and a narrowed gap to the top.
A victory against the leaders who had reached December without suffering a league defeat would have been a morale-booster on its own, but coming after wins away at Newcastle and at home to Valencia when the pressure was on, it is a very healthy sign for the weeks ahead.
As he had done after the Champions League victory six days earlier, the manager was again praising his players' mental fortitude.
'Going 1-0 down so early in the game made things very difficult because it gave Man City even more motivation and belief,' Villas-Boas said. He had seen his players concede after less than two minutes.
'So it was good strength of character and resilience shown once again to make it 1-1. In the second half both teams were trying to find a single mistake that would change the nature of the result and we did very well to find that detail. We grew in terms of motivation, we pushed the league leaders back into their low block and we were creating opportunities. It paid off for us.
'It was a bad run of results that needed a change and we got the change in the most massive games that we had to face. The players deserve credit for going past this period.'
Raul Meireles had levelled the scores before half-time and the details that made the difference between one and three points won the minute were Daniel Sturridge forcing a handball out of Joleon Lescott and substitute Frank Lampard netting a penalty. It was a big moment for a player who had missed one in his last outing at Newcastle and in a Carling Cup shoot-out earlier in the campaign.
'We had assigned Didier Drogba and Juan Mata to penalties,' Villas-Boas revealed, 'but Lamps has always been a penalty taker and he spoke to Mata and was feeling confident to take it. Mata gave him the chance and we are happy that he put it into the back of the net.'
Man City boss Roberto Mancini was unhappy his side had missed out on a penalty in the first half when David Silva went down under challenge from Jose Bosingwa.
'There might have been contact but we have been having our decisions that have not been going our way,' said the Chelsea manager. 'Today maybe it didn't go Man City's way but that is the nature of the game and at least our penalty was a blatant.'
He is pleased with the way his team is currently defending.
'We have reached a zone of comfort with a medium block and the players feel well with it. We have adapted to less space between our lines and we have been doing it quite well.
'It has been a good week and seven points behind in this league with so many teams competing for the title is nothing. Man City play Arsenal in the next couple of weeks and we play Tottenham and for our title challenge to stay alive we have to continue to be competent throughout December. To shorten it to seven points is good for us but we must continue to perform.'
Contrary to a newspaper story, the Chelsea players did not make a beeline for the manager when they found the net and nor were they under orders to do so.
'I would never ask my players to come and celebrate a goal with me,' Villas-Boas stated.
'Goal celebrations are for the players. I told The Sun that they should get the money back from their informant because it is incorrect.
'What was said to the players is that when they score a goal, they can see that the bench is going through the same emotions as them. It is very unfair that the story was poorly portrayed in that way.'
( source: chelseafc.com )