Andre Villas-Boas met with the media today ahead of this weekend’s match with Norwich and said that while Juan Mata is available, Chelsea will be without David Luiz who only returned to full training this morning.
AVB was asked about Mata starting against Norwich and AVB suggested he will be on the bench with Saturday coming a little too soon to ingratiate himself fully into the squad.
“It is too early. This league is very specific in terms of intensity and emotionally and culturally,” Villas-Boas said. “It doesn’t mean he is not threatening the starting 11 but two training sessions is short for playing and creating new relationships with the players, so we will assess tomorrow. Tomorrow is the decisive day for the strategic part of our game and we will decide tomorrow. David Luiz is coming back to full training, today he had a full intensity training. It will be too early for him but he is selected for Brazil and I am going to let him go to add a couple of minutes.”
“On other fronts there is nothing special. Petr has made a tremendous recovery and is looking good for after the international break, and Essien is long-term. Everybody is up for selection. At the moment the funny thing is we are on full weeks running into a game, then when the transfer window finishes we have two games a week. It seems now we went into a pattern of the 18 and 11 but it doesn’t mean changes won’t happen after.”
Villas-Boas also went into more detail on Mata, 23, and what he expected the player would bring to his squad.
“He can play right, left and through the middle. He has been tested as well in 4-4-2, not just 4-3-3 so it gives us flexibility in formation as well. He has an eye for goal and a magnificent record for assists throughout his career. Now comes one of the biggest challenges for his career now in the Premiership and he has made public his comments on that, it is a step up for his career and we hope he can add to the quality of our squad. We were looking for a player that would give us creativity in the final third, not that we don’t have it, but we want always to add when you can find talent of this nature. We thought the price was reasonable for what Mata’s qualities and his demonstrations in the Spanish league and Champions League so we decided to bring him in. It’s a big addition everybody was looking for, speculation was coming from all fronts, and criticism for a lack of market activity, so we can feel laid off now!”