VILLAS-BOAS SET TO WELCOME BACK RAMIRES

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

Andre Villas-Boas should have Ramires back for Saturday's visit of Birmingham City in the FA Cup, while a decision is yet to be made on the fitness of John Terry.

Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba will miss the match but both players will be in contention for our visit to Napoli in the Champions League next Tuesday.

TEAM NEWS

Having seen us fail to win a match in his absence, the manager will be delighted to welcome back the Brazilian midfielder, and though Saturday's game may come slightly too early for others, we should be back to full strength sooner rather than later.

'John Terry completed his first full training session today for a week,' he said. 'But with such a short distance between the two games we must be careful. If he plays against Birmingham then he may not be able to make the Napoli game so we haven't made a decision yet.'

'Kalou will be back in training tomorrow, Drogba the following day, but on Saturday I will need to decide between Torres and Lukaku.

'Ashley Cole's injury is coming along and he has a chance of making the Napoli game, probably a 50/50 chance, but Ramires is back and ready to play.'

ON CURRENT FORM

A poor run of results of late has seen us pick up only three points from a possible 12 in the league, dropping down to fifth in the process, and while the manager is well aware of the need to improve, focusing on two cup competitions may prove a welcome distraction.

'We are trying hard, but the fans deserve a reaction, when you have negative moments you expect a reaction,' said Villas-Boas.

'We had it in three games in December, when we beat Newcastle, Valencia and Manchester City, we are not happy with current results, and we need to give fans something to cheer about, it just hasn't been happening for us.'

The manager also moved to dispel widespread media speculation of a dramatic showdown between himself and a number of senior players following last weekend's defeat against Everton at Goodison Park.

'There were not strong words, basically there was a meeting, but it was nothing dramatic,' he said. 'We all understand we need to do more, our run of results hasn't been impressive but the responsibility is shared. If you're able to gain strength you can go on a good run but we need actions more than anything.

'I think in the end, there are always positives to take out from meetings, everybody wants to be involved, you have to go face-to-face, but as tight as things are in the table from fourth to seventh, it will change from now until the end of the season on a weekly basis.

ON DROGBA'S RETURN

Having been away on African Cup of Nations duty for over a month, Didier Drogba is set to make his return next week, and Villas-Boas is only too aware of the impact the Ivorian can have on the players around him.

'Drogba gives us another solution up front, we've used Torres in all the games since he went away. For the Birmingham game it will be between Torres and Lukaku and then from then on with Drogba as well, for the type of player he is, he's as strong as anybody,' said Villas-Boas.