CHELSEA vs GENK
CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas has added his voice to the chorus of condemnation for plans to scrap relegation and ringfence the Premier League.
Managers’ chief Richard Bevan on Monday alleged that some overseas proprietors of top-flight clubs wanted the change, namely those from the United States and Asia.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Wigan chairman Dave Whelan were quick to rubbish the idea, saying it was “stupid” and would be “suicide”.
Blackburn’s Indian owners followed yesterday by distancing themselves from any such move, insisting they were “fully supportive and committed” to the current format.
And Anglophile Villas-Boas, a protege of former England manager Sir Bobby Robson who undertook his coaching qualifications in Britain, joined them in decrying the plan.
“If there is something that makes the Premier League so proud, it is its established rules over the past, the history there has been in English football,” said the Portuguese. “That’s something that must be taken into account very seriously. I wouldn’t do any kind of changes.”
Villas-Boas spoke out as he prepared the Blues for tonight’s Champions League fixture against injury-hit Belgian champions Genk.
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Valencia in their last European fixture but could take a huge step towards qualifying for the knockout stage with victory over Group E’s bottom club, who are missing several first-team players.
Blues striker Fernando Torres is back from suspension and expected to start but midfielder Ramires, who injured his knee on Saturday against Everton, is out and rated 50-50 for Sunday’s west London derby against QPR.
Some Chelsea fans plan to boycott ttonight’s match over a ticket price rise but the effect may go unnoticed as the club has again given away at least a thousand tickets – as City A.M. revealed they had against Bayer Leverkusen last month (above).
The fixture will also give midfielder Kevin de Bruyne another chance to impress Villas-Boas, who wanted the 20-year-old in the summer.