Feb 19 2012
Manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted neither his job nor Chelsea's season hinged on the outcome of the club's Champions League clash with Napoli after his side's shock 1-1 draw with Birmingham in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Villas-Boas' players did nothing to ease the pressure on their manager with a performance on Saturday that almost saw them dumped out of another competition. Chelsea will need to improve immeasurably to avoid crashing out of the Champions League, with only two days to find a solution to their miserable form before the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Asked if the outcome of that match would have any impact on his future, the 34-year-old said: "No, not at all. It's not up to me to decide that. You have to ask that question to the right person."
Chelsea's performance appeared to show Sunday's summit meeting between Villas-Boas and his players had little effect. The Blues boss was reportedly challenged openly by some of his squad during frank exchanges, but if he was expecting a positive response, he failed to get it as they stuttered against npower Championship opponents.
"We were not good enough," Villas-Boas said. "Better in the second half but not enough to win the game. Never satisfying when you draw at home to a Championship team."
Birmingham boss Chris Hughton hailed his own side's display as their best of the season, especially considering they were without Nikola Zigic and Marlon King, and lost captain Stephen Carr early in the game.
"I'm more delighted not so much with the result as the performance," Hughton said, admitting his side took advantage of Chelsea's recent poor run.
He added: "A Premier League team playing against a Championship team at home are always going to be favourites.
"Any unrest, it's normal, but I'm quite sure that they'll go on to have success because of the quality of player that they've got."
Hughton said of the pressure on Villas-Boas: "It very much comes with the territory. He is an exceptional manager. You don't get the type of job that he's got without being that. I think he's gone through a transitional period, perhaps with the way that they're playing and the players than they have. Sometimes it takes that little bit longer."