Football

Villas-Boas set to ring the changes

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Andre Villas-Boas has admitted he will have one eye on Chelsea's Barclays Premier League showdown at Manchester United when he picks his team for Tuesday night's Champions League opener against Bayer Leverkusen.

Villas-Boas is planning to make changes for the Group E clash at Stamford Bridge in the midst of his biggest week since taking charge of the Blues more than two months ago.

"You'll see some changes," said the 33-year-old, who must decide whether to recall Fernando Torres to his attack and who will replace the suspended Ramires in midfield. "Then we'll make wise decisions for Sunday."

Didier Drogba will once again miss out on Tuesday night as he continues his recovery from a head injury. The striker was given another two days off this week and is looking more and more likely to sit out Sunday's trip to Old Trafford.

Torres appeared a strong favourite to continue his run in the team before he lost his place for Saturday's win at Sunderland and his misery deepened when it emerged Chelsea were probing an interview he gave in which he appeared to criticise his own team-mates. The Spain forward claimed his comments were mistranslated, even though they appeared on his personal website.

Torres was bought to help Chelsea win the Champions League, with Villas-Boas ultimately recruited for the same reason. The Portuguese has yet to manage in the competition but has plenty of experience of it from his time on Jose Mourinho's coaching staff.

History shows it can be vital for a team to win their group to go on and lift the trophy, but Villas-Boas said: "The competition is full of exceptions. I lived Porto's experience and we managed to play all the second legs away from home and still qualified to win the Champions League in 2004."

Tuesday night's game will reunite Villas-Boas and Chelsea with former Stamford Bridge midfielder Michael Ballack.

Villas-Boas said: "I haven't been able to speak to Michael for a lot of years, since I left. He's a player who represented a lot to us and represents a lot to Leverkusen.

"I'm not sure about the thoughts of their coach regarding Michael's inclusion in the squad, because they've been using him sometimes and other times not. But he adds value to the squad with the vision he has."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Sunderland
Didier Drogba
European News
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Ramires
Fernando Torres
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Michael Ballack

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