Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas rules out Alex recall

Andre Villas-Boas has reiterated he will not bring Alex in from the cold, even if it means Chelsea starting this afternoon's west London derby with John Terry as their only fit centre-half.

Blues boss Villas-Boas was asked on Wednesday whether he would reverse his decision to banish Alex from his first-team squad should the club suffer an injury crisis.

Despite having previously claimed Alex and Nicolas Anelka, who were sidelined after submitting transfer requests, could force their way back into his plans, he declared the former would not be recalled - even if the worst happened. Barely 24 hours later, it did, with Branislav Ivanovic limping out of Thursday night's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Tottenham.

Asked afterwards if he had changed his mind about Alex ahead of the game against Fulham, Villas-Boas simply said: "No."

In fairness, Chelsea coped admirably at White Hart Lane with the loss of Ivanovic, despite Jose Bosingwa being forced to move from right-back to centre-half for what was possibly the first time in his entire Stamford Bridge career.

Paulo Ferreira also impressed at right-back having not previously featured in the Premier League this season. "This was a fantastic adaptation and another solution that we have in the squad," Villas-Boas said.

With Ivanovic almost certainly out of the Fulham match, Villas-Boas was hoping David Luiz would return from the knee problem that has sidelined him from the last two games.

Otherwise, he insisted he would even consider playing young midfielder Oriol Romeu alongside Terry rather than turn to Alex.

"Hopefully, David can return for contention for the game against Fulham," he said. "But, if not, from Oriol to Bosingwa, both can play in that position.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph