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No regrets for Villas-Boas

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Andre Villas-Boas insisted he had no regrets about sending on Salomon Kalou for Frank Lampard in Chelsea's Champions League draw at Valencia, despite the decision backfiring spectacularly.

Villas-Boas' recall of Lampard for the Group E clash was completely justified, with the midfielder scoring what looked set to be the winner at the Mestalla. But the Chelsea's manager's 83rd-minute substitution of his fellow 33-year-old proved disastrous, with replacement Kalou immediately conceding a needless penalty which saw Roberto Soldado make it 1-1.

Villas-Boas rejected suggestions he should have sent on a more defensive-minded player, with his side under pressure at the time and he said: "No, no, no, no. Putting on a striker is nothing to do with being more offensive or putting on a defender sometimes is nothing to do with being more defensive."

He added: "I think it was the right choice bearing in mind what we were looking at, which was the fact that Valencia were coming out on the left side and doing a lot of two against ones against Bosingwa. We controlled the left side.

"The goal doesn't come from that situation. If you bring on a defender, you suffer the goal the same. So it's nothing to do with that in my opinion."

The build-up to the game was dominated by speculation about Lampard's future after his reduced role in recent weeks and Villas-Boas yesterday declared himself fed up of answering questions about the midfielder.

Lampard arguably benefited from his manager's decision to hold him back for the bigger game and Villas-Boas said: "It was a good performance, a good display from a top player, one of the best players in the squad.




 

"A goal always comes at a good time for Frank. He's been a goalscorer all his life. His abilities are never in doubt and we trust him 100% - like I told you."

Chelsea should have been further than 1-0 ahead before Lampard's substitution as their wastefulness in front of goal returned and Villas-Boas said: "It was a pity. We had very, very good opportunities to reach 2-0 and we just couldn't find the back of the net. It was very, very unlucky.

"The performance was solid and a draw away from home, if it's proposed to you before you take it. So near to a win, it leaves you with a strange feeling but we're in a good position still in the group. We're looking forward to the Genk game - they're going to be difficult games, of course. But if we get six points out of them, we're almost ensured qualification."

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