Villas-Boas - I'm the boss
Andre Villas-Boas has told Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard they must not sulk after starting Chelsea's defeat by Napoli on the bench.
Last Updated: 23/02/12 6:24am
Andre Villas-Boas has told Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard they must not sulk after starting Chelsea's defeat by Napoli as substitutes.
The England internationals were surprisingly on the bench along with Michael Essien and Fernando Torres in Tuesday night's 3-1 UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg loss in Italy.
Cole ultimately came on after 12 minutes for the injured Jose Bosingwa, while Lampard was a 70th minute introduction and the decisions have led to fierce criticism of Villas-Boas.
The Chelsea boss is already under immense pressure following a five-game winless run and reports of a dressing room bust-up as a result of his tactics has led to further scrutiny.
Villas-Boas, 34, has confirmed Cole and Lampard were less than happy, but wants them to accept the decision, as he said: "I had a conversation with Ashley and Frank.
"The players that they are and the players with the experience they have, they felt they could have helped the team. That's perfectly understandable.
"Of course, they were disappointed but they were decisions they have to accept and move on."
Villas-Boas described Lampard's omission from yet another big game as tactical and Cole's as the result of not being fully fit following a calf problem.
"Ashley was a difficult decision taken yesterday," he told his post-match press conference on Tuesday. "I am sure from tomorrow's training onwards he will continue to fight for his position as he normally does. It's his position to take and nothing else.
"[Lampard and Essien] was technical decisions. In the end it would be fantastic if we win the game, any explanation is useless given the result of the game."
Instead of starting with the Champions League experience of Lampard and Essien, Villas-Boas decided to name Ramires and Raul Meireles as his sitting midfielders.
And the Chelsea boss explained: "Lamps can do it, but it's the decision we took, not with the objective of goals but on the other side, covering for the attacks Napoli have.
"Those on the pitch have been doing magnificently well and that's why the choice was taken.
"We can continue to count on these players to help the team. They will be up for selection like any other time."