So I will be the first to admit, I had tuned out of the managerial debate surrounding Chelsea, purely because I presumed it would be Guus Hiddink. Up until a week ago all the talk suggested it, it was just a matter of time. So I was pleasantly surprised when the announcement came earlier this week that Andre Villlas-Boas had stepped down at Porto and the expectation was that he would fill the vacant managerial post at Stamford Bridge. Fast forward a few days, and he’s signed his contract, held up the shirt and given his first interview. For all those wondering who he is and why such a fuss, you can be forgiven seen as he only stepped into management two years ago. However Chelsea fans may recognise him as part of the Mourinho entourage.
Villas-Boas worked under Mourinho at both Chelsea and Inter, and eventually followed in the footsteps of ‘The Special One’ taking the reigns at Porto, after short stints with Academica and the British Virgin Islands years back. He’s also Portuguese, never played professionally, and regarded as one of the most promising young managers in the game. But that’s where similarities with Mourinho stop. It has been well hyped up in the media, but anyone expecting a ‘Special One Mark II’ will be severely disappointed. Villas-Boas is a very different character.
In his own words, he is more like his mentor Bobby Robson, of who he lived in the same building and was encouraged to get his qualifications by, than like his previous boss Mourinho. Since the appointment players have even come out to say how different the two are with Andre regarded as much more approachable and likeable than dear old Jose. With Mourinho there always seems to be a fight to be had, a battle to be won, but Villas Boas is not like this.Even in his first interview with Chelsea TV Villas-Boas seemed a different kettle of fish. Rather than making outlandish statements as Mourinho did on arrival, the 33 year old preferred to put more emphasis on the whole club and its fans as it ‘is not just about one man’.
And I’m sure he will have endeared himself to Chelsea fans too, playing up the fans and speaking of how far the club has come. Villas-Boas quipped it is less about him arriving at the club and more about the continuing success of the club. And the continuing success is undoubtedly what will keep the Portuguese in a job, given the impatience of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. The Russian has been known to make rash decisions if things are not going Chelsea’s way as Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti found out. The former wasn’t even given a year in the job, and a trophyless season for the latter was enough for Abramovich to show him the door despite a league and cup double last term. Even Mourinho couldn’t bring the Champions League success that the Russian craves. However a treble last year, including the Europa League and going the domestic season unbeaten certainly puts Villas-Boas in good stead.
And Porto definitely saw the potential as they shrewdly worked in a 15m euros buy out clause into his contract, despite being relatively untested prior to his role at the Portuguese champions.