Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has hit back at remarks from Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson that his newly-acquired side’s age will count against them.
With a large proportion of the Chelsea playing staff in their early 30s, the high average age of the squad is seen by many as possibly debilitating for the new Portuguese in charge at Stamford Bridge.
However, the former Porto coach sees it differently, arguing that the nine senior players at the club bring with them a wealth of experience, which can be harnessed for the team's benefit.
Speaking after Chelsea’s morale-boosting 4-0 victory over the Thailand All Stars in the latest game of their pre-season tour of Asia, Villa-Boas told Skysports.com:
“These players still have a lot offer. Just look at the trophies they have won and how successful they have been.”
While denouncing Ferguson’s barb, Villa-Boas did acknowledge that he would have to manage his older players carefully.
“Chelsea are the second or third oldest team in the Premier League and I must respect the recovery periods of the older players.
“So I must find the correct balance between experience and youth and find out what kind of game we can play.”
With the signing of Barcelona youngster Oriol Romeu all but sealed and speculation linking the club with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Javier Pastore, it is clear there is a desire to inject some youthful energy into the side, while utilising the experience of the more senior players.
By Lee Wilson