By NBF News

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS has praised John Obi Mikel for his bravery in playing on while his father is in the hands of kidnappers.  Mikel's father, Michael, was abducted nearly a fortnight ago in Nigeria.

And the young Blues manager had to break the shock news to his midfielder.

Mikel was offered the chance to return home but decided to stay after talking to brothers Tony and Ebele.  He played in last Sunday's 0-0 draw at Stoke and  in their 2-1 home win over West Brom.

Villas-Boas said: 'It's a pretty sensitive and traumatic situation, a very, very difficult personal situation.  'I just have to go with the word my player gives to me and, against Stoke, Mikel felt well to play.

'People go through big disappointments and personal things in their lives and are still able to play, as they feel well on the pitch avoiding the things running in their personal lives.

'Players react in different ways. Some want straight away to go back to their families, others prefer to be like this and live on day by day.

'Mikel made himself available for training and selection and, we decided he will play against West Brom. It was difficult to tell him the news and I agree he has shown amazing mental toughness.

'Hopefully, he can get this solved as soon as possible. That's what we hope for.'

Villas-Boas, 33, saw nothing on the opening weekend to alter his view that the Blues can challenge for the title - even though they already trail Manchester City and Manchester United.

He added: 'My perspective on winning the league doesn't change. It's our commitment to win it.'

Villas-Boas is still trying to strengthen his squad and hopes to complete the £27million capture of Valencia's Juan Mata.

He is also planning an increased bid for Spurs' Luka Modric. But he wishes the transfer window did not run until the end of August and would prefer everyone to know where they stood at the start of the season.

He said: 'I thought this last year in Porto, as I went through the same uncertainty regarding players. I think it should close in all leagues the first day the season starts.'