Manager denies rift with Chelsea duo

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has hit back at reports Nicolas Anelka and Alex have been frozen out by the club.

Both players have been placed on the transfer list and are set to leave Stamford Bridge in January. Neither trained with the rest of the squad on Monday.

But Villas-Boas has denied claims the duo have been harshly treated – and even suggested they could still play for the Blues again.

He said: “A conversation was had with those players and they accepted it. It doesn’t mean they cannot return in the future to first-team activity.

“The players are not being treated like criminals – contrary to what has been written. These are top professional players and we have respect for that.

“The players involved are still in contact with us and it doesn’t mean they will not return in the future.”

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