AVB puts point into context

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For a man very much accustomed to winning, Andre Villas-Boas would have demanded no less from his Chelsea charges against Stoke, although the Blues boss was forced to settle for a point at the Britannia Stadium.

The 33-year-old can boast a quite remarkable record from his time as Porto manager, with his side having won 27 and drawn three of their 30 league games last season.

So, with standards such as these, it is fair to say a solitary point was not on the agenda for the Portuguese on Sunday although, on reflection, Villas-Boas was able to take positives from the encounter with the Potters.

"I couldn't be pleased with a point but it is one of the most difficult grounds to play away from home," he said.

"Last season at home I think Stoke had 10 wins and a couple of draws so for our title challenge one point from Stoke is not bad. It is not the greatest start of course but we are happy we raised our game in the second half.


"The first half we were able to defend them but we struggled with Stoke's set plays and we couldn't put the ball on the ground which was to their advantage.

"We couldn't create opportunities which we managed do in the second half, but unfortunately the goal didn't happen.

"We were close and we played in their half in the second half. The game was more in our control but unfortunately we couldn't find the back of the net."

One clear plus point gained from the goalless draw for Villas-Boas was the performance of Fernando Torres, with the Spanish striker displaying a sharpness and creative spark not evident for a number of months.

It certainly came as a surprise to some that the 27-year-old was chosen ahead of Didier Drogba to start at Stoke, but Tony Pulis was prepared for the eventuality.

The Stoke boss had been keeping a close eye on the progress of Torres during pre-season and has warned future opponents that the former Liverpool forward is almost back to his sensational best.

"I wasn't surprised Torres started," explained Pulis. "I watched their game at Rangers and I thought Torres was outstanding there.

"I thought he looked like he did when he first came to Liverpool and he caused us all sorts of problems today, he was very good."

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