Get off our backs, Chelsea boss tells fans

LONDON, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has told the club's supporters they must be more tolerant with the players to have a chance of taking the Premier League trophy back off Manchester United.

The former Porto manager, who is hoping a deal for Valencia forward Juan Mata is near completion, tasted competitive victory for his new club for the first time on Saturday when Chelsea came back from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

AFP - Chelsea's Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas (L) and the rest of the bench celebrate French striker Nicolas Anelka's goal during the game

Albion had led 1-0 at half time thanks to an early goal from Shane Long, the Republic of Ireland forward, and many Chelsea supporters booed the home team off at the break.

Chelsea revived to win the game through goals from Nicolas Anelka and substitute Florent Malouda, moving to third in the table as one of four teams with four points from two games.

Villas-Boas called upon the people he calls 'the public' to be more supportive in future however.

"For us to go through an intense Premier League season we need support, a good environment and good commitment from the public," he said.

"We need a good empathy from the public to this team to be champions again.

"This team wants to be champions again and the public demands it. We are listening to their demands and we want to perform but we need the full support."

Chelsea had been poor in the first half, especially for a team with so much Champions League experience, and the goal they conceded in the fourth minute was certainly avoidable.

Ramires, the midfielder, played a sloppy pass to centre-back Alex, who was robbed by Long, who sprinted away to score.

Anelka's equaliser was helped past goalkeeper Ben Foster via a deflection off the leg of defender Jonas Olsson in the 53rd minute but Chelsea were already looking more cohesive by that point.

Albion continued to create occasional chances themselves but were undone seven minutes from time by a fine move from Jose Bosingwa, who cleverly beat two opponents in one go and crossed to the back post where Malouda, who had come on before half time for Salomon Kalou, applied a cool finish.

"Today was a very emotional game and the emotional part of the game was the main difference between the first half and the second," Villas-Boas explained.

"In the first half we suffered a little bit from anxiety.

"The players couldn't express themselves to their full talent and I don't think that was anything to do with the changes that we made. Our half-time talk was to free them from the anxiety.

"The public was anxious, the players were anxious but there was still 45 minutes to play and anything could happen. And when you do find the back of the net then the emotional impact on the opponent is tremendous. We felt very confident to go in search of the second goal."

The result was a second successive defeat for Albion, who had played well against Manchester United on the opening day only to be beaten by an own goal. Long also scored in that game, which also finished 2-1.

"It feels like a little bit of deja vu as we didn't do badly against Manchester United, when we played some good football but conceded a late goal," said Albion manager Roy Hodgson.

"There were times in the game when the team looked solid but you get punished at the highest level for errors you make and we made two very bad defensive ones down the left side."

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