Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas says Roman Abramovich supports him
Manager Andre Villas-Boas has admitted some of his players do not back his Chelsea "project", but insisted owner Roman Abramovich is behind him.
Villas-Boas said it was "normal" for some players not to agree with him, following reports of being openly challenged at a team meeting on Sunday.
"They don't have to back my project, said Villas-Boas. "It's the owner who backs my project."
Speculation has increased on Villas-Boas's future after poor league form.
“I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have”
Chelsea have drawn two and lost one of their last three league games, with their last Premier League win coming against Sunderland on 14 January at Stamford Bridge.
Villas-Boas denied "strong words" had been exchanged at a meeting where players were brought in for training on their day off after the league defeat against Everton.
But the 34-year-old manager acknowledged he did not enjoy the backing of all his players.
"That is normal," he insisted.
"I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have.
"In the end, that is the objective of getting us the best position possible in the league, plus these two trophies [The FA Cup and Champions League], which we are fighting for.
"It will be extremely good for us if we win against Birmingham to put ourselves in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
"But we need strong progression in the league and to show our strength. Third place [Tottenham] is already 10 points ahead of us. We have to get Champions League qualification."
ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS AT CHELSEA
- June 2011: Signs three-year contract after Blues pay Porto £13.3m in compensation
- August 2011: Pays combined transfer fees of around £45m to bring in Oriol Romeu, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata
- Sept 2011: Four-game winning streak ends with 3-1 defeat at Manchester United
- Oct-Nov 2011: Chelsea win twice in nine games, a run that includes 5-3 home defeat by Arsenal
- Dec 2011: Qualification for second stage of Champions League secured with 3-0 win over Valencia
- Feb 2011: 3-3 home draw with Manchester United is third in four-game period
There have been reports that senior stars want Abramovich to re-appoint Guus Hiddink, after the Dutchman led Chelsea to the FA Cup when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked in 2009.
It has also been reported that some Chelsea players are still in contact with ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
But despite the club being fifth in the league, Villas-Boas was confident his own job was under no more threat than last week.
"I don't think so, but it's a question that you will have to ask the owner," he said when asked if he was in any danger.
Owner Abramovich has been at the club several times in recent weeks, and the Blues manager said the Russian had showed "empathy and motivation for next year's project".
Chelsea's billionaire owner paid Porto £13.3m in compensation to bring in Villas-Boas in the summer but there has been criticism of the Portuguese's performance so far in an indifferent campaign.