LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Andre Villas-Boas the Chelsea manager watches from the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Bolton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on February 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Some potentially big news regarding Andre Villas-Boas has emerged via Duncan Castles today, and things don't look ideal for the manager if Castles' report turns out to be true. The claim is that Roman Abramovich has told Andre Villas-Boas (in 'an explicit warning') that he will be sacked unless Chelsea can advance past Napoli in the first knockout round of the Champions League - a tough ask, since they're down 3-1 from the first leg thanks to a parade of defensive errors at the Stadio San Paolo.
How reliable is this? Your guess is as good as mine. Castles has had some bad misses in the past, but he's normally on top of news from Portugal and I wouldn't dismiss this out of hand. Don't take this as anything like gospel, however. Abramovich apparently still supports the young manager, but there's pressure on him from more or less everywhere and that going out against Napoli, a team that's 5th in the Serie A, would make his position untenable.
Chelsea play the return leg in two weeks' time. Tick tock.
PS: Incidentally, the idea that losing to Napoli would be embarrassing is absolutely silly. So far this season, Napoli have faced AC Milan, Juventus, Manchester City, Bayern Munich (at the beginning of the season, when they were brilliant) and Chelsea, and they've given every single one a hard game.