EXCLUSIVE: Villas-Boas in Chelsea crisis talks
Published 22:32 24/11/11 By John Cross & Martin Lipton
Andre Villas-Boas has called a team meeting at crisis club Chelsea - and ordered an end to dressing room cliques.
Under-pressure Villas-Boas wants to ensure there are no splits in the camp and that the players are all united.
Villas-Boas has demanded that his players to eat together more often, and stay as one in training with no small splinter groups.
But the Portuguese also faces questions from his bosses about his treatment of £50million striker Fernando Torres, who has been exiled to the bench for the team’s last three matches.
Torres played just six minutes against Liverpool on Sunday as Chelsea dropped out of the top four places, and was left on the bench at Bayer Leverkusen in midweek.
Villas-Boas has been worried about the Spaniard's confidence levels and is hoping that he can recover his top form by coming off the bench and scoring - but to no avail yet.
The Chelsea boss is determined to ensure that improved dressing room spirit can help dig the club out of their recent slump, after the worst start to the campaign during the Roman Abramovich era.
Villas-Boas has stressed publicly that the spirit is good, but behind-the-scenes he wants to ensure that no cliques are allowed to develop as the problems mount.
The increasingly desperate 34-year-old called them all together to clear the air as he faces the biggest test of his short career.
Villas-Boas is facing a crunch five games in the next fortnight but insists that he can turn it round - and there is no immediate threat to his job from owner Abramovich.
“In football you live in the moment, and Chelsea’s moment is negative,” said Villas-Boas.
“We have to avert the bad results and get into a dynamic of victory.
"It’s not about what I expect, it’s about Chelsea’s expectations. Chelsea’s expectations are titles, and at the moment there is no title to play for.
“At the moment the negatives are all out exposed, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have the character to change it.”
To add to Villas-Boas’ problems, the Chelsea boss is also facing major questions over the future of his number two, Roberto Di Matteo.
The former MK Dons and West Brom manager is understood to be struggling to adapt to life as an assistant, and has admitted he would be tempted to go back to being his own man.
Villas-Boas is the youngest manager in the Premier League and will want a big character alongside him to help Chelsea through their crisis, so the doubts surrounding Di Matteo will be a concern.