COACH Andre Villas-Boas says that Chelsea’s poor form in December has cost it any chance of winning the Premier League title race.
But the manager remains confident that his position is not under threat despite his admission that his side’s performances have fallen well short of expectations. Villas-Boas’s side sank to a 1-3 loss to Aston Villa – its third home league defeat of the season – extending its recent run to four games without a win.
The defeat meant that it was unable to take advantage of Manchester United’s loss to Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur’s failure to beat Swansea City, and allowed Arsenal to leapfrog it into fourth place.
Villas-Boas, whose side faces Wolves tomorrow, said it was frustrating that his side had not been able to pick up points in a month when other title contenders had been dropping them. He said: “It’s disappointing on the fact that in the last three fixtures, all the top teams have dropped points.
“We spoke about how December could have been decisive in the running of the league. From what is happening now, Arsenal made the most of a good December. Liverpool, too, in some way.
“The rest of the teams have struggled. All of them dropped points, but we couldn’t make the most of it. It’s difficult for us to be in perspective for league contention this year.”
Villas-Boas, who was brought to the club at great expense by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich after a successful season with Porto, said there were no hard luck stories regarding his side. He stated: “There is no running away with excuses.
“What we regret more is that, from the last four games, we’ve lost a big opportunity to shorten the distance to the leaders. Massive opportunities lost. We would have been running for the title if we’d had a better December. I don’t think the title is realistic. Our reality is a fourth place finish, but that is not good enough.”
The 34-year old, who began his coaching career with a year with the British Virgin Islands, said he could not comment on his future: “Ask that question to the owner, but I have no other information on the contract,” he said.
Didier Drogba put Chelsea ahead with a first half penalty, his 150th goal for the club. The striker celebrated by saluting all four stands, prompting suggestions that he was saying goodbye before the January transfer window opens.
But Villas-Boas believes that the striker was simply bidding farewell ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations – though the manager hopes to persuade the Ivoirien FA to allow the player face Portsmouth in next weekend’s FA Cup tie.
Poor December cost Chelsea title, says Villas-Boas