Andre VILLAS-BOAS has urged Chelsea fans to recreate the spirit of the club’s famous 4-2 victory over Barcelona in tonight’s do-or-die Champions League clash with Valencia.
The Blues play their final Group E game this evening knowing they will crash out of the competition before Christmas for the first time ever unless they win or keep a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
Failure would pile more pressure on manager Villas-Boas, who wants Chelsea’s supporters to play as big a role as their heroes tonight.
The 34-year-old, who was part of Jose Mourinho’s backroom team when Chelsea knocked out Barcelona six years ago, said: “They can have a massive impact. They will have to unite themselves.
“I have good memories of top European nights at this club, and I know the atmosphere can be raised here, just like we did in the 4-2 against Barcelona. If they do that, we would have the right ambience to take on Valencia with that extra input.”
Chelsea need everyone pulling in the same direction and Villas-Boas admitted he had banished Nicolas Anelka and Alex from his first-team squad because their commitment to the cause could not be guaranteed.
He said of the duo, who have both submitted transfer requests: “The players are not being treated like criminals. It was discussed with the board and the players. Their professionalism and integrity will never be in doubt, but we want the right mindset. For players on the transfer list, the reality is that, eventually, the mindset is not the same.”
Villas-Boas, below, shrugged off Frank Lampard’s petulant reaction to being substituted during Saturday’s Barclays Premier League win at Newcastle, saying: “Frank is a top professional and every player wants to spend more time on the pitch.
“But the manager decides things for the team. The manager makes the decision.”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Frimpong admits there was a time he thought his chance with Arsenal was gone and is determined to make the most of their final Champions League Group F clash against Olympiacos in Athens tonight.
As qualification for the knockout stages had already been secured with one match to spare, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger elected to bring a mixed squad out to Greece, so the likes of captain Robin van Persie, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Song all remained in London as a youthful 18-man squad jetted out from Luton.
Midfielder Frimpong, 19, has battled his way back to fitness following a serious knee injury and said: “I knew I would come back to playing football, but felt I was never going to get my chance at Arsenal again.
“But I have just carried on from where I left off, and have that chance again.”