What They Said: Villas-Boas retains title belief
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas declared his belief that the Blues can still win the Premier League title after Wolves were swept aside 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Goals from John Terry, Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata moved Chelsea to within nine points of Manchester City, and Villas-Boas took confidence from the result: "I think we can [win the title]. We have most of the same players [who have won the title before]. We have the talent and belief will be the last thing to die with us. Man City play tomorrow in a difficult game [at Liverpool]. In the past we have seen examples of us shortening distances but for that example to serve as inspiration we need to get the winning streak back like we did last year."
Villas-Boas faced plenty of media pressure after losses to Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen in the last week, and he admits the pressure is still on: "It does not take the pressure off me. We have to continue to grow as a team," the Portuguese said. "In recent games we did not deserve to lose, but it influences opinions and that is part of the job."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy was left to reflect on a dire performance: "It was not good enough from us," he said. "At half-time I asked them to salvage a bit of pride and self-respect. Our fans were fabulous. They paid £50 and at least we gave them something to cheer, although we did not brighten their experience too much, at least we gave them something to cheer about in the second half."
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp heaped praise on Jermain Defoe after the England forward scored the winner in a 3-1 triumph at West Brom: "We lost Rafael [van der Vaart] with a hamstring injury but Jermain has been in fantastic form. We had a reserve game on Tuesday and he got five goals against Charlton and he looked so sharp. Some of his play in the second half today was fantastic."
Albion have now conceded four penalties in the last five games after Emmanuel Adebayor's equaliser for Spurs, and Baggies coach Roy Hodgson struggled to hide his frustration: "I don't want to be talking about penalties. You make your own mind up. I'm not prepared to talk about it. We've had more penalties given against us, I think, than any other team. I see players go down in our penalty areas after challenges which don't look particularly vicious. Then I see our players go down in the penalty area which don't look vicious. The referee makes the decision which he thinks are the ones to give and not the ones to give."
Blackburn boss Steve Kean chose to ignore the calls for his resignation following Rovers' 3-1 loss to Stoke: "I put it to the back of my mind. I am focused on the job," he said. "I think if there are a few fans shouting then they can shout what they want. They can voice their frustrations; we are frustrated we didn't get anything from this game so I can share their frustrations. All I want to do is for the fans to go home happy because they have seen us winning and play well."
Opposite number Tony Pulis, who saw Stoke's four-match losing streak in the league ended, offered Kean some advice: "I've been fortunate - or unfortunate - to be a manager for a long time and it is a lonely job when it is not going well,'' he said. "The most important thing you learn and you have to focus on is you cannot affect what happens outside your club. What you can affect is the players and the performances and you have to concentrate really hard - and that is difficult."