Villas-Boas heaps praise on Man United

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has praised Manchester United's "impressive" start to the season but believes Sunday's clash with the Premier League champions comes at a good time.

United have scored 18 goals and conceded three in picking up maximum points from their first four games with local rivals Manchester City having an almost identical record albeit having scored three goals fewer.

"It's for all of us to praise when any team in the world starts a league like that," Villas-Boas told a televised new conference as he prepared to cross swords with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - who is more than twice his age - for the first time.

"It's impressive and the fans are able to enjoy these kind of goals from Man United or Man City or any team in the world who starts a goal-scoring spree like this one. It's good for all football," added the 33-year-old Portuguese.

Chelsea are two points behind United and City, having dropped points on the first weekend of the season when they were held to a goalless draw at Stoke City, but Villas-Boas said he was pleased with their start under his leadership.

"We're confident with what we've been doing so far. Of course we would prefer to be level on points by this date but it didn't happen. We think we had an important point at Stoke. It's early season and the Premiership is so unpredictable."

Asked if his reputation was at stake on Sunday he added: "It's the fifth game of the season. I think if any manager is judged on five games... there is not something wrong with the manager there is something wrong with the people who run clubs.

STRONG START

"We have made a good strong start in the Premiership. This game comes at a good time for us because both teams feel very motivated and feel strong so hopefully this will be enough for the spectacle to be excellent which all of us should hope for.

"Normally when there is this high expectancy for a game sometimes things go the other way round and it is a boring, tactical game.

"Hopefully, it won't because that's not the culture of the Premiership. I think it will be a high-intensity game fuelled by emotion," he added at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham near London.

Villas-Boas was not even born when 69-year-old Ferguson began his managerial career and the Portuguese admitted he could not remember his appointment as United manager but he praised the way the Scot repeatedly developed young players.

"Ferguson promotes talent, young talent, and you have a couple of good quality young players coming through from [Tom] Cleverley to [Phil] Jones to [Danny] Welbeck and Chicharito," he said.

"This plays to the importance of the work he does. Sir Alex can take the best out of all his players and choose two strong starting elevens. He has been doing this throughout his life."

Striker Didier Drogba will miss out as he is still recovering after a serious head injury and Michael Essien is a long-term injury victim, Both reserve goalkeepers are also struggling with knocks.

"One of them will be available but Hilario picked up a big knock yesterday and went for a scan so we are trying to find the extent of the injury to his hip and Ross [Turnbull] is making a steady recovery from an injury he picked up in a reserve team game and is at 80 percent," said Villas-Boas.