Villas-Boas: Lose to City and our title challenge is virtually over
Published 15:29 09/12/11 By Martin Lipton
Andre Villas-Boas today admitted Chelsea's title hopes will be virtually extinguished if they lose to Manchester City on Monday.
And the Blues boss suggested Spurs should now be regarded as City's biggest rivals.
Tuesday's win over Valencia saw Chelsea stay in the Champions league 24 hours before both City and Manchester United were booted into the Europa League.
But the Stamford Bridge manager accepted his hopes of regaining the domestic crown would be on the brink should Chelsea succumb to a fifth league defeat of the season against Roberto Mancini's men.
Villas-Boas said: "It's never a good time to play a leader of this dimension and City have been outstanding every week.
"We either continue to challenge for the Premier League if we win or draw, or it becomes extremely difficult if we lose.
"If we do lose, 13 points is a big deficit to recover. It would not be impossible but you have to look at the reality.
"Even if we lose, there will be no quitting - and there will be quitting of belief. But 13 points would be a massive gap again.
"It's fair for us to see what happens after all the December fixtures and speak again at the beginning of January, to see what the distance is between the teams and who is competing for the Premier League. That would be a good idea.
"We've recovered a couple of points recently, to the leaders as well, down to 10 points. Getting back to seven would be ideal for us and puts City very close to us. But 13 means a bigger step, a difficult task to do.
"If we can win it would give us a sense of consistency in terms of results. We could say we've got our run back.
"But we're playing the leaders and they'll put on a massive challenge for us. They understand the importance of this challenge to them.
"They've played at United and Liverpool and come to Chelsea now. If they get the result they want, a win, they will come out with almost with the assurance that the Premier League title is at least with one team less in the running."
Villas-Boas, without the suspended David Luiz on Monday, also showed he is willing to try on the old mind games routine as he sought to put pressure on Spurs.
Chelsea, currently three points behind Tottenham, who have a game in hand, visit White Hart Lane three day before Christmas and Villas-Boas added: "We all agree that Tottenham and United are the ones up there challenging them.
"Now we have to see how much pressure Tottenham can put them under with that game in hand against Everton because if they win that then they would be near to City and with United because of what it means for United to defend their title against a Manchester rival.
"There's still a lot of belief but, again, it's difficult to find weaknesses in a top quality side like City at the moment."
Villas-Boas was also quizzed over whether he still believes his team have been "persecuted" by the media, responding: "It doesn't matter now, does it?
"There was a lot of expectancy towards that game. It's fair to say that we were chased a little bit. It's fair for you guys to admit that the media darlings of the press wear blue colours - and are not Chelsea.
"That's fair to say. We don't inspire ourselves from your positivity nor your negativity. We have to do our job. We were unfairly treated a couple of times, and fairly by yourselves in the beginning. It's a lot and hate relationship.
"But it's fair to say that our results have not helped. People should speculate on a couple of things. A lot of things that were said, most of the things, were wrong. But the criticism is fair given where we are in the league."