Chelsea's leaks off the pitch are ignored as Villas Boas gets the blame

The almost daily deconstruction of Andre Villas Boas has picked up speed with defeat in Naples. Those who weren't praising Napoli this week were widely seen as football's equivalent of Little Englanders and yet when they do what was predicted it's regarded as a serious Chelsea failure by many.

I hate the word 'agenda' being used when it comes to the media as it's normally just a shortened and less whiny way of saying 'They all pick on my team', but there does seem to be a growing agenda and palpable dislike for the Chelsea manager.

Let's not gloss over his time at the club. They sit fifth in the league on equal points and equal goal difference with Arsenal, they've had some poor recent results and he has failed, as those before him, to master the personalities within the dressing room. 

Yet a lot of it seems to go beyond the usual criticism, there appears to be a desire to ridicule him and his ability. A new kid on the block who must have fluked a Championship and Europa League and who is now being found out. 

A 34 year old from a privileged background who has been given a leg-up along the way. Suave, easy on the eye and confident with it. Younger than many journalists in press conferences and all this without any playing career. What's not to feel envious about? He's lived a charmed life and now, when faced with the realities of a job he doesn't deserve, finds himself in no-man's-land surrounded by people who have gone past whispering and are now doing the media equivalent of pointing and laughing. It's payback, I'm not quite sure what for but it appears that scores are being settled and pens are being flexed.

He took on a Chelsea squad which needed to look more to the future than the past and has seemingly faced hurdles at every stage. John Terry and Frank Lampard have seen Ranieri, Mourinho, Grant, Scolari, Hiddink and Ancelotti before him. Andre Villas Boas is not the first to have issues with player power at Chelsea but he seems to have the least amount of sympathy for it of any of his predecessors. 

Leaks come from the squad regarding their concerns about his 'project' at an alarming rate but there seems little desire to point fingers at players over this. A manager can only do so much and when trying to progress a club the task can be made near impossible when senior players attempt to thwart that and the media lap up the leaks without questioning the benefit these players are doing to their club. 

When you have Jody Morris, close to current players, tweeting about team selection eight hours before kick-off then you know there's a good chance that's come from Chelsea players complaining to him without any request he keeps silent about it. When the media spend the day talking about Frank Lampard telling the manager he has to pick him then you can be pretty sure that news hasn't come from Andre Villas Boas. 

Yet there's no criticism, no ridiculing the players for undermining their club. Perhaps it would cut the source of the leaks, and therefore stories, off.

It even extends to Sky, Jamie Redknapp being more critical of performances than he usually is and suggesting the team selection was managerial suicide would suggest a personal interest, and funnily enough there is one. We only see what is on the camera and as he was barely able to stop himself going off on a '10 Reasons I Hate Andre Villas Boas' monologue then it's not hard to imagine what thoughts are shared when off air.

Perhaps Gary Neville had spent too long being a sounding board for his Sky colleague, which may explain his less excellent than usual analysis. If only Chelsea had 'played properly' they could have easily put Napoli to the sword, a side Neville said only had two top players. Indeed he said in the second half that Chelsea should still score four if they got their act together, this was added to his declaration in the first half that a few simple adjustments from Chelsea's defence would totally nullify the Napoli attack. It all seemed so simple.

You'd expect Villas Boas to be asked about his future in every interview, such is the furore surrounding him, but then you have to accept that he's going to defend himself. When he says he has the backing of the owner and that's what counts most, he's ridiculed some more.

Does he appear arrogant? Yes. Is that more beneficial to his plans for the Chelsea squad than wilting at a press conference? Yes. 

Andre Villas Boas may not be Chelsea manager much longer and then much of the media, and several players, can start afresh. If the new man doesn't suit some then the leaks will start again and Chelsea and the fans will be the real ones losing out as the club struggles through a whirlpool of egos and waning ability. 

By Annie Eaves, follow her on Twitter @AnnieEaves

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Entirely predicatable from an increasing Anti-Chelsea media. They sense blood here and you can hear them rubbing their hands in glee as they think they've got their man. All of a sudden they've made allies of Lampard Cole and Terry (even heard Sky include Torres as having been inexplicably dropped). If they get their desired result here - and Villas Boas walks or gets pushed, they will then turn on the players and the outrage will be directed at the 'Player Power' slant.

Season in, season out I watch the media try and try and undermine Chelsea - but I get accused of Neurosis. The media (written press, TV and unemployed Journos) have it in for the New Kid on The Block alright - and this will have been accentuated when he pointed pointed out some mis-quotes and untruths earlier in the season. But the glee with which Chelseas current difficulties are being met is unedifying to say the least. When you get a reporter on Twitter asking another if AVBs press conference was being held in a Naples Job Centre, you know the attitude towards the young manager,

AVB has inherited the dirty work that his predecessors failed to take on. The core of these players are in the twilight of their career and everyone accepts that major surgery is required. Naturally, the turkeys are not voting for Christmas. I, like many Chelsea supporters have not selected one team all season which matched our manager, but that does not make him wrong. Lamaprd, Cole. Malouda and Drogba have all struggled to show they are the untouchables of old. Bosingwa and Meireles have shown little to explain why they're the new untouchables ... but are presumeably not challenging the manager behind the scenes.

Leave him alone to get on with the massive job in hand. Players, need to start earning their starting places and not bully the man charged with leading Chelsea out of the Mourinho era. Nothing will change with the Journalists.



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