Andre Villas-Boas has angrily accused Gary Neville and other big-name ex-players of biased punditry when criticising his Chelsea side.
Villas-Boas' war of words with Neville escalated on Friday as the Blues boss let rip at the former Manchester United captain, who has been outspoken in his assessment of the Blues' deficiencies in recent weeks.
Villas-Boas, who has also taken umbrage at criticism from Liverpool legends Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness since his appointment as Chelsea boss, said: "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 34-year-old added: "Comic criticism and the lack of in-depth criticism from top ex-professional players, when they take the route to the ridiculous, I think I have a word to say. When they opt for words as we've been seeing, in the past, I have to be aggressive."
Villas-Boas scoffed at suggestions he was being oversensitive, claiming Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini - who he will pit his wits against in Monday's Barclays Premier League clash - had been just as upset by former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann branding his side "boring".
Villas-Boas said: "We've just seen that Mancini reacted to what Lehmann said about City, which was completely out of this world as well. He opted to do that. I could discharge these people but not when what they say is ridiculous."
Villas-Boas watched the televised build-up to Tuesday's match against Valencia during which he claimed Neville had suggested he would not want to be in the Chelsea dressing room.
"I'd say this to his face with most pleasure," Villas-Boas said.
"What does he know about the Chelsea dressing room? What does Gary Neville know about our dressing room? How can you imagine what is going on in the Chelsea dressing room? How can you know? Have you been here? Do you know where Cobham is? You don't even know how to get here!
"You can't speculate and invent on things that are going on, based on assumptions or informants or speculation. Some people can have more or less an idea. But not him. He cannot know."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer