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Nov 20, 2011

Villas-Boas rues 'big blow' to title hopes

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was in sombre mood after his side's 2-1 home loss to Liverpool, describing it as "one step closer to an even more difficult situation".

Villas-Boas became the first Blues manager since Claudio Ranieri to oversee two successive home defeats in the Premier League, after former Chelsea defender Glen Johnson scored a late winner for Kenny Dalglish's visitors.

Prior to the international break, Villas-Boas had watched his players lose 5-3 to Arsenal and was again left to rue a Stamford Bridge reverse on Sunday, a result which leaves the three-time Premier League champions 12 points behind current league leaders Manchester City.

"It's a bad blow for us in the Premiership. It's a big blow," Villas-Boas said. "We have a home game with Wolves next, before Newcastle and then the leaders and we have to try and win those games, as difficult as they are.

"There are lots of points on offer in November and December. The calendar gets tight and maybe we can get some extra points. But this is one step closer to an even more difficult situation.''

However, Villas-Boas was defiant when asked about his future, insisting Chelsea are committed to his plan for the club.

"The owner didn't pay €15 million to get me out of Porto to pay me another fortune to get me out of Chelsea," he said. "It is not a question of the owner having patience. I have said we have set out to build something new at this club and the club is committed to what we are building for the future.

"Our commitment is to the club and to what we are doing in the future and we have enough talent to compete in all competitions. This our perspective at the moment.

"There is no running away from our responsibilities. There is no calling this a year of transition, no calling for time to do our work. Our responsibility is to win the most amount of trophies we can and at the moment we are in four competitions."

Villas-Boas' opposite number Dalglish had considerably more to smile about after coming away with a second win at Stamford Bridge this year - having also masterminded a 1-0 victory in February.

Liverpool are sixth in the table - level with Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham on 22 points - and Dalglish praised the attitude of his players on what he labelled "a good day for us".

"To their credit, they kept going and at that stage, to have your right full-back up there is of great credit to the players,'' Dalglish said. "I don't think Chelsea had a chance at the end.

"I thought we played really well in the first half, and I don't know if anyone would have objections to us taking three points. It was a good day for us.''

Dalglish offered his backing to under-pressure Villas-Boas, saying: "No-one in the football profession will be questioning him. I don't know the lad, but he had a fantastic CV at Porto. I don't know what the criticism will be, but there's huge respect for him in the football profession.''

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