The notoriously outspoken football pundit Tony Cascarino believes Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas was ill-advised to round on the club's recent critics.
The under-fire Chelsea boss lambasted the likes of Gary Neville and Alan Hansen for their public critique of the Blues following their inconsistent start to the season, suggesting their opinions were ill-informed and biased.
The aforementioned duo, whose ties to their former clubs Manchester United and Liverpool, were also queried by the Chelsea manager in an outburst that perhaps displayed the Portuguese tactician's inexperience of the English media.
Neville made an off-the-cuff remark about Chelsea defender David Luiz in his capacity as an expert analyst for Sky Sports during their recent encounter against Liverpool. The former England international suggested the24-year-old defended as if he was "being controlled by a 10-year-old on a PlayStation, a comment that has seemingly incensed Villas-Boas.
"I'm nobody to criticise [Neville's] opinion, but when he takes this ridiculous route I have to defend [my player]," The Chelsea manager told the Guardian. "You cannot be a top English defender like [Neville] was, and a top Manchester United defender like he's been [and say this] and I'd say this to his face with most pleasure.
"You cannot approach a top Brazil central defender, a player of tremendous aspirations and talent, saying he's commanded by a kid with a PlayStation. That's ridiculous. He plays for the team with most titles, so be careful with what you're saying.
"Nor can you speculate about Chelsea's dressing room. What does he know about the Chelsea dressing room? Have you been here? Do you know where Cobham is? You don't even know how to get here. You cannot speculate or invent based on assumptions or speculation. Some people can have more or less an idea. But not him. He cannot know. I'm normally indifferent, not watching on the telly to see what these people say. But I was watching the television at that moment, and I was gobsmacked."
While keen to admonish Neville's opinion of his much maligned young centre-half, the Chelsea manager suggested the likes of Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson and Graeme Souness express their view-points from a heavy Liverpool bias given their long-standing ties to the Anfield club.
"When it is comic criticism, and the lack of in-depth criticism from top ex-professional players, I think I have to defend myself and my players. I have to be aggressive. That's fair. We know most of these people we are speaking about have a direct past related to single clubs, which are their favourite clubs, which in the end brings a likely biased position in their opinion-making." The evidently irked Chelsea manager concluded.
Although clearly keen to defend his players from the media glare, Tony Cascarino believes the Chelsea manager's aggressive comments were extremely ill-advised given their important Premier League encounter against the league leaders Manchester City on Monday night.
The former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland striker believes Villas-Boas would have been better served keeping silent because his comments could inevitably come back to haunt the Portuguese coach.
Chelsea's recent form against Newcastle United and Valencia have hinted at a return to their former fortitude at the back, yet prior to those matches their defensive record was evidently central to their perceived malaise. Cascarino admits Villas-Boas may rue his recent comments if Manchester City put Chelsea's defenders to the sword at Stamford Bridge.
"André Villas-Boas took a swipe at the pundits last week but I am not sure his timing is the best." The ex-Chelsea star told the Times.
"Tonight Chelsea's shaky defence will be sorely tested by Manchester City. If I were Villas-Boas, I might have kept my mouth shut."
Defeat for Chelsea this evening would leave the Blues trailing Manchester City by 13-points and even at this early juncture in the season, it be too big a deficit to make up.