Transfer requests won't rock Chelsea: Villas-Boas
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists his squad remains united after revealing Nicolas Anelka and Alex will be forced to train alone after the club accepted their transfer requests.sports Updated: Dec 04, 2011 12:46 IST
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists his squad remains united after revealing Nicolas Anelka and Alex will be forced to train alone after the club accepted their transfer requests.
French forward Anelka and Brazilian defender Alex were missing from the squad which won 3-0 at Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.
And Blues boss Villas-Boas, whose side face Valencia in a decisive Champions League clash on Tuesday, has confirmed that both Anelka and Alex will no longer train with their team-mates.
But the under-fire Portuguese coach is adamant the decision won't have a negative effect on the squad's morale heading into a crucial week.
"The conversation (with Anelka and Alex) was fair and very up-front," he said.
"The players have shown their interest in leaving the club and have put in their transfer request for quite some time.
"They are top professionals and their professionalism and integrity is never in question.
"But at this moment and in the recent run of results we have decided just to try to get the group together and have decided to assign different training times for Anelka and Alex.
"The group was informed and they took on board the decision.
"The transfer request was accepted but it doesn't mean that it will happen.
"If it doesn't happen then the players will return to full training activity."
Chelsea now face Valencia at Stamford Bridge in a game they need to draw 0-0 or win to advance to the last 16 of Europe's elite club competition.
And, with league leaders Manchester City next up a week on Monday, Villas-Boas is hoping that the victory at Newcastle gives his side some momentum going into a vital period.
"We now have a major, major game against Valencia," he said, having watched goals from Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge secure the success over Alan Pardew's Magpies.
"We hope to get through it and that will set up the right emotional stimulus to take on the league leaders.
"The results haven't gone our way recently so to find an inner-belief and strength (to win at Newcastle) was a major key.
"We are making good progress."
Meanwhile, Newcastle could be without key central-defensive duo Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor for next weekend's league trip to Norwich.
Coloccini, the Argentine captain, was forced off with a thigh strain in the first half against Chelsea before Taylor succumbed to an Achilles problem late in the game.
And Pardew said: "We've lost Steven Taylor to what looks like a bad injury and that is a worry.
"Coloccini's was a thigh strain and I think they could both be doubtful for next week."
James Perch replaced Coloccini and he will now start at Carrow Road.
"Fair play to James because he had to come into a high-intensity game," Pardew added.
"He started a little bit shaky but he got stronger as the game went on and I was pleased for him because he'll definitely be starting next week."