Villas-Boas shrugs off Chelsea setback

Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas maintains his team's confidence will not be dented by their late slip in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Wigan.

Updated: December 18, 2011 12:09 IST
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Wigan: Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas maintains his team's confidence will not be dented by their late slip in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Wigan.

The Blues had the chance to move within four points of leaders Manchester City at the DW Stadium and they took the lead through Daniel Sturridge, only for Jordi Gomez to equalise with three minutes left.

Chelsea, who beat City 2-1 on Monday, passed up the chance to win four consecutive games for the first time under Villas-Boas.

The Stamford Bridge club have received plenty of criticism for their performances since the arrival of the Portuguese in the summer.

But he insisted that another slip-up would not affect the mood of the club, as they prepare to travel to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham on Thursday.

"We conceded a goal towards the end that was disappointing and it prevented us from getting the three points we expected and it's a pity because the players worked hard for three points," he said.

"But the confidence won't be affected. We'll have to wait for Sunday's games to see how the title race is affected and we might drop points back from the leaders.

"I don't think it undoes the positivity we had created. Wigan are a different Wigan because they have momentum from their recent results."

Sturridge's effort took him to nine goals for the season and he has now scored four in his last five.

But Villas-Boas is adamant that the former Manchester City striker, who has just broken into the England squad, is not carrying the team's hopes on his shoulders.

Villas Boas added: "He had a good game and everybody has been playing well.

"We're on a good run of confidence again. It's not affected but it is a shame that we didn't get three points because that might have changed the perspective on how we look in the league table.

"We have to continue to wait for the December fixtures and to have as many points as possible. We have a difficult game against Tottenham, an exciting game in perspective, two opponents that are close in the table, two title challengers."

Villas-Boas expects Brazilian midfielder Ramires to return from a dead leg he sustained in the win over City when his team travel to Tottenham.

He also played down concerns that John Terry and Frank Lampard, who received respective knee and head knocks, could be doubtful.

Wigan have now picked up seven points from their last four matches as they prepare for another tough run of fixtures over the festive period.

Roberto Martinez's team host Liverpool, whose manager Kenny Dalglish was at the DW Stadium, on Wednesday before heading to Old Trafford on the following Monday.

At one point this season Wigan suffered eight straight Premier League defeats and they have struggled defensively.

But Martinez was pleased with the way his team responded to falling a goal behind.

"Playing a team like Chelsea toe to toe, you get a hammering or a pleasing performance and I was very pleased with the way we played," he said.

"That's the biggest point. I said that sometimes you need to control the mental side in games and when you concede in games against top teams you accept it and we were excellent against Arsenal and conceded and the game got away.

He added: "To keep on believing was the big difference from other performances and when you're a young squad like ours, you have to learn from your experiences."

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