AVB didn’t deserve chop, says Luiz

David Luiz has responded to Chelsea’s dramatic Champions League victory by claiming that Andre Villas-Boas should not have been sacked before the London side’s 4-1 win over Napoli on Wednesday night.

The Brazilian centre-back, who was outstanding as Chelsea overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit to win at Stamford Bridge, said that owner Roman Abramovich should have given the Portuguese more time, even though since his departure, Chelsea have won three games in-a-row.

“I’m really sad, as Andre was a really capable professional. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to show his true value at Chelsea. He didn’t have the chance,” said Luiz.

“You can’t doubt a professional like him, who won five titles last season and was feted by everyone. He didn’t have enough time at Chelsea.”

Luiz caused a storm just two days before Villas-Boas was sacked after reportedly saying Frank Lampard “should listen to the coach’s orders” in an interview with the Portuguese press, though he distanced himself from the story and claimed he was talking about everyone in the squad.

Luiz was speaking to Brazilian TV show Arena SporTV and insisted the squad is united and without any cliques.

“We are a united team, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get the results that Andre deserved. That’s football, and if there is a footballer who cannot handle the pressure of playing for a big club, then he doesn’t deserve to play for a club like Chelsea.

“There were no problems between Villas-Boas and [Didier] Drogba, Lampard and [Michael] Essien. That’s not true. But people invent problems when the team doesn’t win.’’

The irony of Chelsea’s success against Napoli was that it was the old guard who Villas-Boas had been trying to phase out who came to their rescue. John Terry, Drogba and Lampard all scored; the latter two, figures that Villas-Boas had fallen out with during his eight months in charge.

Star midfielder Lampard warned Chelsea could forget about ending their long wait for Champions League success if they did not put a premium on the kind of experience Villa-Boas was willing to jetison.

“You can’t win these sorts of competitions without that,” the 33-year-old said.

“You’re not talking about old boys whose careers are flitting out. They’re players that want to play, players that want to win. You can see that.

“When you’ve got that, if you can add to that with the youth and the quality we’ve got around the team as well then that’s a recipe and we have to carry on with that.”

He added: “The amount of nights that Didi’s stood up, the amount of nights that John’s stood up, is what Chelsea are all about.

“If that can get us a result like that then we go with it.”

Lampard remained coy on whether Di Matteo should be considered as a full-time successor to Villas-Boas.

“That’s for the club to decide,” Lampard said of the Italian, who stormed the pitch at the final whistle, bear-hugging almost everyone in sight.

“He’s done very well and he’s had three wins out of three, so fair play to him.

“Robbie is a very ‘Chelsea’ man and he’s shown that with his heart on his sleeve. He deserves that celebration.”

As well as saving their own skins on Wednesday night, Chelsea rescued the reputation of English football, which looked set to have no Champions League quarter-finalist for the first time since 1996.

The Blues’ hopes of continuing to fly the flag may depend on a last-eight draw today that could see them paired with anyone from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to minnows APOEL Nicosia.

However, Lampard said: “We have to believe — and we do believe — that we can beat anyone. No one’s going to want to come and play here when we’ve got that about us.”

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