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FA Cup fifth round draw

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Blues players confront Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas' position as Chelsea manager looks increasingly insecure following a heated clash with his players in front of the club's owner, Roman Abramovich.

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Abramovich, who has presided over seven managers in eight years, called for a summit with his manager and players following Chelsea's 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday - their fourth Premier League game without a win.

The Russian blamed the players for the club's slide to fifth place and Villas-Boas gave his underperforming squad a dressing down. However, the players reportedly hit back at the Portuguese manager, telling him exactly what they thought of his training and tactics.

It is also believed that goalkeeper Petr Cech came in for criticism from team-mates over his distribution.

"The players stuck with AVB until the New Year because they realise he was under orders to change things," a source is quoted as saying in The Sun.

"But his plans are obviously not working, the atmosphere in the dressing room is tense and more and more players are beginning to wonder if he's the right man for the job. It's reached a stage where many of them don't care whether he's there or not.

"No one foresaw this situation - but the results simply aren't there and he's suffering because of them."

Abramovich has taken an unusually close interest in training recently, but the Blues maintain Villas-Boas position is not under threat and that the owner's active interest is perfectly normal.

Indeed, almost two years ago, Chelsea went on to win the double when the Russian held a post-mortem into their Champions League defeat to Inter Milan.

There is little chance of a repeat this season, with the Blues now 17 points behind league leaders Manchester City in fifth spot.


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