With Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas continually under the media spotlight - the decision to leave out big names in the most recent defeat at Napoli was always going to come under scrutiny.
Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole were the unfortunate trio who appeared to have been dropped by the Portuguese tactician in Naples, resulting in questions asked surrounding team morale within the Stamford Bridge camp.
Former Arsenal left back Cole allegedly doubted his manager's ability, suggesting he could not take the club further in the pursuit of silverware, which has been a regular occurrence at the West London club.
When asked about Cole, AVB dismissed reports that there had been a disagreement between the two parties.
"It's not true, you don't expect them to be jumping up and down with excitement when the manager doesn't use them," said AVB.
“The club is more important than any individual. Full backing, part backing or whatever backing - it doesn't matter.”
As Villas-Boas suggests, the club is more important – which is something most critics need to consider.
Chelsea as a club must recognise that their championship wins came about due to the continued ‘spine’ at the time – in Terry, Lampard, Cole, and Drogba, the Blues had a consistent side that proved to be very difficult to beat, resulting in much silverware over the past five years.
However, as times are changing, so are the players ages. Now all into their 30s, it is necessary for AVB to try and rejuvenate the current playing squad with some younger talent that will enable the club as a whole to compete with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
These Chelsea veterans will not be around forever, and at some point the fans need to realise a transition is going to be made.
This may take a year or two to settle – but as a result the club will benefit as a whole and start to challenge at a serious level again.
Villas-Boas has started this by bringing in the likes of Oriol Romeu, a 20 year old who looks to have some promise in the midfield.
Daniel Sturridge, arguably Chelsea’s best performer this season with eleven goals to his name, is also a constant threat to the opposition and is most likely going to be a key player for the club in years to come.
Josh McEachran is currently on loan at Premier League side Swansea City, where he will undoubtedly gain valuable first team experience enabling him to stamp his place in the Chelsea first team next year.
These are the future of Chelsea – the criticism of Andre Villas-Boas could be seen to be unfair as he is trying to create this ‘project’ which in turn does need to happen.
Granted some team selections have been dubious, but if Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic sacks yet another manager it could be seen that he is running around in circles.
Chelsea need to consider their ageing squad rather than continually blame the manager as at present the club is in disarray.
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