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Sacked by London rivals Chelsea, Villas-Boas gets second chance with Tottenham
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Spurs give AVB a chance for redemption

By prolifik on July 8th, 2012 in Blow the whistle 19 comments
Spurs give AVB a chance for redemption
Second chance - Villas-Boas
Tottenham Hotspur’s appointment of André Villas-Boas will certainly come as a surprise to some, after the Portuguese head coach’s failure to impress when in charge of Chelsea earned him the sack after just nine months at Stamford Bridge. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has decided to give AVB another shot at Premier League management and a chance to make amends for his dismal spell as Chelsea boss, and Villas-Boas will be eager to grab it with both hands and show everyone what he’s made of.

It never really seemed to quite click for Villas-Boas at Chelsea. He had seemingly undertaken the tough task of phasing out the Chelsea old guard, bringing in some new blood and facilitating a seamless transition whilst keeping them at the top. But this would have been an incredibly tricky proposition for any manager, particularly a young and relatively inexperienced one like AVB.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich paid Villas-Boas’ former club FC Porto a record £13.3 million in compensation for his services, hoping that his youthful approach and supreme confidence would enable him to freshen things up and revitalise the squad. Villas-Boas record for FC Porto had been impeccable, as they went the whole season unbeaten, winning four trophies along the way, one of which was the UEFA Europa League, making him, at the age 33 years and 213 days, the youngest manager ever to win a European competition.

With this impressive CV is was easy to understand why Abramovich was tempted to splash out on AVB. Sadly, he didn’t find things quite so comfortable at Chelsea. The Blues started the season off quite well and were undefeated in their first four games until they were beaten by Manchester United at Old Trafford. This was the first time Villas-Boas had tasted defeat since his previous reign as manager of Académica, before he took charge at Porto.

In October, Chelsea suffered back to back London derby defeats, beaten 1-0 by Queens Park Rangers and then 5-3 at home to Arsenal. Three weeks later they suffered their second successive home defeat when they lost 2-1 to Liverpool. They followed this up with 2-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. A week later, Liverpool also knocked them out of the League Cup at the quarter-final stage.

In December Chelsea drew three games in a row 1-1 before losing 3-1 at home to Aston Villa. In February, they dropped out of the top four in the Premier League after they were beaten 2-0 by Everton. By this time, the pressure was beginning to mount on AVB. As a result, he decided to cancel their day off and called the players in for an inquest. This seemed to anger some of the more high profile members of the squad, who began to question his stewardship.

Next AVB’s side could only manage a draw with Championship side Birmingham City in the FA Cup, before they suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli in the Champions League. Villas-Boas was heavily criticised for his team selection after he left out Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien for the trip to Naples. He was then summoned to explain his decision to the Chelsea director on behalf of Abramovich. It was quickly becoming clear that Villas-Boas’ reign as Chelsea boss was about to come to a sticky endm and a 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom was the final straw and AVB was promptly relieved of his duties.

Abramovich must have been gutted about the way things had gone as he appeared, on the face of it, to have quite a good relationship with the young Portuguese. Besides, he’d invested heavily to bring AVB in, having had to fork out £10 million in compensation for sacking previous manager Carlo Ancelotti and then paying Villas-Boas’ £90,000 a week in wages, as well as the £13.3 million compensation he paid to Porto. So where exactly did it all go wrong for AVB, the man who was dubbed as Mourinho Mark II, after he had worked under the self proclaimed ‘special one’ at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan?

There are some obvious differences between the two. Villas-Boas did not seem to be able to establish quite the relationship with his players that Mourinho had. There was ongoing debate about his tendency not to start Frank Lampard, who was one of the more senior and well-respected members of the Chelsea dressing room. This did not seem to go down well with the players or the fans, who desperately wanted to see Lamps in the starting line-up. As a result, this decision seemed to alienate Villas-Boas somewhat from many of the players in the squad. He also had a bit of an awkward relationship with the media, often coming across very serious and in some ways, bland, in comparison to the colourful and outspoken Mourinho.

Then there was also the fact that Mourinho was still in the hearts of many of the Chelsea fans and it was his name that was often heard ringing around Stamford Bridge, rather than that of AVB. These were all tough obstacles for Villas-Boas to overcome and the fact that he was expected to be the next Mourinho and knowing the amount of money Abramovich paid for him and what his credentials were from his previous job, expectations were incredibly high.

Villa-Boas was also up against it when you consider the type of players that were in the Chelsea dressing room. It been well known from previous years, like the Luiz Felipe Scolari era, that certain players in the Chelsea dressing room like to rule the roost. Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard were the three main culprits, and if they took a disliking to the manager, they had the power to ensure he would not succeed, as happened with Scolari. Drogba refused to play well under Scolari and then the moment the Brazilian was fired, he miraculously found his form again. Funny that. Plus, at 34, Villas-Boas is actually the same age as Drogba and Lampard, which might have made them think, who is this guy, coming and trying to tell us what to do?

Tottenham will certainly be hoping that they can get the kind of results out of Villas-Boas that he achieved in his season in charge of Porto, rather than a performance similar to his stint at Chelsea. At the end of the day, for Abramovich to fork out so much money on AVB, he must have demonstrated a lot of potential. Perhaps he just needs the right platform to succeed in the Premier League. Tottenham fans love a manager who will pay attractive football, first and foremost. Under their previous manager, Harry Redknapp, they played some of the most entertaining football in the country when at their best, and Villas-Boas does have a reputation for getting his sides to play an attacking brand of football.

In terms of success, Redknapp will also be a tough act to follow, after he achieved two fourth place finishes and one fifth place in his time as Spurs boss and also took them on an enthralling Champions League journey where they were eventually knocked out by Real Madrid in the quarter-finals last year.

He’ll certainly inherit a good squad with a lot of potential, with Gareth Bale having just recently signed a new contract and the likes of Jermaine Defoe, Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon in their ranks. It is looking like they may be losing one class player in Luka Modric, who is believed to be on his way to Real Madrid, but AVB has already brought in his first signing in Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was on loan at Swansea last season, and there have been many other names linked with a move to White Lane.

Despite the Chelsea debacle, Spurs fans will be eagerly anticipating the start of the coming season to see what their new young manager can produce and they will be hoping that this time he proves he can cut it as manager of an elite Premier League club.




Contributed by richbrawn1
By prolifik on July 8th, 2012 in Blow the whistle

Spurs give AVB a chance for redemption
19 responses
Kaufman24Lenora
23 Jul, 2012
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Claire
5 Aug, 2012
Good work Oliver!Surely he should have been given more time to turn tgnhis around? As you say, they're still in the FA Cup and latter stages of the Champions League. They could well finish in the top four of the Premier League too.You were very quick to submit your article just like a good journalist should.BillCo-editor, Junior News
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Mr Chan,Read ur entire blog with dehiglt. Great to see that we have coffee lovers in malaysia with so much passion. KL is lucky, at least there are some places u can get a decent coffee. Up north in Penang, it is a sad story. Anyway, I want to know more about the espresso machine that you use and how I can get it. The beans as well. My father is a big time coffee freak and he has been making it in the sad machines from Delonghi (steam driven) to the current Rowenta Virtuoso (another sad one). I want to get him the Gaglia Baby that u recommended. Pls advise.
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