EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea players argue with angry AVB
Published 22:32 13/02/12 By John Cross
Andre Villas-Boas has clashed with his Chelsea players - in front of the club's owner, Roman Abramovich.
The dressing-room exchange took place at the club’s training ground on Sunday, after Villas-Boas cancelled a day off following the previous day's defeat at Everton.
Abramovich organised a training ground summit to shake up the squad after the Blues slipped out of the Champions League qualification places.
The Russian tycoon blamed the players for the club’s slide to fifth in the Premier League and furious Villas-Boas tore into his squad during the showdown meeting - but senior pros gave as good as they got from the manager in a no-holds-barred exchange.
Players voiced concerns about tactics, management methods and team selection in a clear-the-air meeting which turned stormy as both sides put their points across.
Abramovich witnessed the argument and also spoke to the players, leaving them in no doubt that he is still backing the manager despite the setback at Goodison Park.
However the owner, who spent virtually every day at the club’s training ground last week to get a close look at the team’s preparations, is now aware of the players’ feelings about the man he appointed last summer.
AVB retains the support of the owner but that backing will be tested if Chelsea crash out of the FA Cup to Birmingham on Saturday, and lose to Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Abramovich has told confidantes that he alone appointed Villas-Boas last summer and is therefore determined to back his judgement.
Chelsea did not wish to comment on the dressing room clash.