Chelsea aim for victory against Bolton
Andre Villas-Boas will expect his Chelsea side to have overcome the frustrations of a difficult midweek trip to Valencia and maintain the pressure on the Premier League leaders with victory over Bolton.sports Updated: Oct 01, 2011 19:52 IST
Andre Villas-Boas will expect his Chelsea side to have overcome the frustrations of a difficult midweek trip to Valencia and maintain the pressure on the Premier League leaders with victory over Bolton.
The Blues returned from Spain exhausted after travel difficulties and frustrated at conceding a late goal that meant they collected only a point from what was expected to be the most testing game of their group campaign.
The trip to the Reebok Stadium should present fewer difficulties with Owen Coyle's side currently experiencing a woeful run that has left them without a point since the opening day of the season.
Villas-Boas's team will be without Fernando Torres who starts a three-match suspension after being sent off in last weekend's victory over Swansea, but with Didier Drogba ready to return and Daniel Sturridge eager to impress at the club he spent five months on loan last season, Chelsea will travel in confident mood.
"In terms of fitness, Didier's ready," said the Chelsea manager.
"He has been included in the squad for a couple of games and we wanted to give him a run before in the Fulham game but it was impossible because of the circumstances. Swansea we thought the same but circumstances left us with the only option to bring him in late in game.
"He is in top form and available for selection. We have to decide what we want strategically but everybody is motivated."
With Manchester City and Manchester United playing 24 hours earlier, Chelsea could go into the game six points adrift of the top -- or within three points of the leaders.
Villas-Boas, though, insists that will make no difference to how his team prepare for the game.
"That has nothing to do with it. The calendar means some play on Saturday, some on Sunday. We could be six behind or chance to go level," he said.
"It's up to you to choose to take the positive or the negative. It's match day seven and this is nothing unusual."
"We have had two days of recovery from Valencia, bearing in mind effort and delayed flights. We came back from a strenuous trip but we should be okay. Physically the team will respond, so I have no worries in that sense."
Coyle believes Chelsea and Villas-Boas are the perfect fit and that the 33-year-old will succeed where others have failed at Stamford Bridge.
Coyle, who gained his coaching badges alongside the former Porto coach, said: "Chelsea have a group of players who are winners and Andre is certainly one of them. You only have to look at his record in Portugal to prove that.
"He is at an elite team in the league and he deserves that. We have spoken a bit and we did our pro-licence together. You can see how driven he was on the course and how he carried himself.
"I remember how competitive he was, even when we all had a game of football, so he is a real winner.
"That will rub off on Chelsea and they will be there or thereabouts again at the end of the season."
Coyle is refusing to press the panic button, despite presiding over a nightmare run that stretches back to last season.
They have lost 10 out of their last 11 Premier League games, including five defeats in a row, and currently prop up the league.
"We have to remain strong. Chelsea will be another big test for us and the leading sides keep coming thick and fast," Coyle said.
"We have already played Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. We knew the fixtures we had would be an unbelievably tough. But that means rectifying that and we believe we are good enough to get a result.
"We are not feeling sorry for ourselves."
Bolton will be without Stuart Holden, who faces a further six months out, despite just returning from a knee problem. The American heads up a long injury list while David Wheater and Ivan Klasnic are suspended.
First Published: Oct 01, 2011 18:38 IST