17/09/2011 13:41 +0100 – Villas-Boas takes his side to Old Trafford on Sunday to face a United team that has made a record-breaking start to the Premier League. Their achievement is all the more remarkable considering most of their starting XI are in their early 20s, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson once again putting his faith in the next generation. Last year saw Chelsea attempt to do the same but their decision to jettison a raft of experienced players ultimately backfired when injuries struck. The summer departure of several youngsters suggested that experiment might have been abandoned but most of the signings made by new boss Villas-Boas have been teenagers, even if they have been used sparingly. "They will come eventually," said the Portuguese, who has given minutes to Romelu Lukaku and Oriol Romeu this season but not yet Josh McEachran. "Josh will find a place in a competitive midfield eventually, and Josh understands that. "Oriol played well for 10 minutes against Sunderland, Lukaku against Norwich. "I don't think it's harder for them. It's just the way our squad is built at the moment." Villas-Boas, who has repeatedly been forced to defend players at the opposite end of the age spectrum, added: "I have no problem, and I cannot have problems, with age. Because it's just competence that I'm looking for." The one Chelsea youngster who really has made the breakthrough this season is Daniel Sturridge. After missing the Blues' first three games through suspension, the 22-year-old has been hugely impressive in back-to-back starts and looks certain to keep his place on Sunday. Villas-Boas said: "He's been doing tremendously well, scoring and assisting people. "He's a player who is able to express himself freely in the game, and exploit the full potential that he has. "If you asked him, he'd feel more comfortable as a striker, but I think he has potential playing in a wide position. "That's what we're trying to find in him the freedom to play in the channels." Juan Mata, who is only 23, has been just as impressive on the opposite flank. Villas-Boas said of the £23million signing from Valencia: "When you find a player who comes from such a different league as Spain to this one - this one is more frenetic and faster - and see him express his talent, as well as he did in the Spanish league, it's something surprising." Despite the emergence of that duo, Chelsea are still lagging a long way behind United when it comes to youth. Villas-Boas said: "Ferguson promotes talent the way you see. "He likes to promote young talent, and they have a couple of good quality young players coming through: (Phil) Jones, (Tom) Cleverley, Chicharito (Javier Hernandez). "Sir Alex is a person who can take the best from his players and can choose two strong starting XIs, like I can. "But he has been enjoying that throughout his life." Of course, Chelsea's biggest investment in youth has been in Villas-Boas himself, the 33-year-old costing a reported £13million to prise from his Porto contract this summer. Tomorrow will see the Portuguese prodigy walk out at Old Trafford as a manager for the first time and he has vowed not to be overawed by arguably what is the biggest challenge of his two-year career. He added: "At this level, the players decide what happens. "I just hope they put on a show for the fans. "We just try to do our best for the team to perform, for the players to perform, to the extent of their talent." Villas-Boas has already considered what he will tell his players before the game, saying: "I'll try to touch on the things we have achieved, achieved this season, not in the past. "There are some good signs with the progression and fluency of our game. "That's one thing to get into their minds to try and get the best out of them."