Villas-Boas Can Finally Bring The Champions League To Chelsea
Two years after being appointed the boss of Académia who were at the time bottom of the Portuguese Primeira Liga, André Villas-Boas finds himself in charge of one of the biggest clubs in the world. After seeing many world class ability managers (and Luiz Felipe Scolari) not quite satisfy the needs of multi-billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, Villas-Boas’ move to Chelsea raised many eyebrows within the footballing world.
After leading Académica to an 11th place finish in his initial season in charge, Villas-Boas was snapped up by Portuguese giants F.C. Porto. The success he achieved at Porto was unprecedented as he became the youngest manager ever to win a European competition. Winning the Europa League was only 1/3 of an excellent treble winning season for the young Portuguese manager. A season that also saw Porto remain undefeated throughout the league campaign. The murmurs of comparisons with his ex-mentor José Mourinho had began and after Villas-Boas was announced as the new Chelsea manager on the 22nd June 2011, they were only going to get louder.
Too often last season Chelsea rather stalled in possession. Carlo Ancelotti regularly bemoaned a lack of tempo in their approach, with the ball stuck in midfield and opponents able to reorganise and stifle. This has not been the case under Villas-Boas. The main culprits in slowing the attack down and taking far too many touches on the ball have been ousted from Chelsea’s starting XI. Nicholas Anelka and John Obi Mikel can only look on in envy as Chelsea have adopted a style of play that hasn’t been seen at the club before.
Whilst previous managers such as Mourinho and Ancelotti focused their play on strength and direct football, Villas-Boas has adopted the style of football that Abramovich has seemingly craved. Throughout his time in charge of Chelsea, winning alone has not been deemed good enough for the powerful Russian. There has always been an abundantly clear message that Chelsea should be a team winning in style.
Largely due to his performances on the international scene, Frank Lampard has endured a lot of (unfair) criticism this season but under Villas-Boas, Lampard has revitalised his game and despite being substituted at half time at Old Trafford, Lampard has bounced back and seems to have proven to his manager that he is still an essential member of the Chelsea squad. Under previous managers Lampard would have been one of the first names on the team sheet but just like the team’s style of play, times have changed at Chelsea. Villas-Boas seems to have bought an end to the days where the Chelsea dressing room was dominated by the players, which in itself is an achievement to be applauded. It is clear to see that the young manager is not to be taken lightly.
Despite only having been at Chelsea for such a short amount of time, Villas-Boas seems to have already solved a burning issue his predecessor could not; Torres is scoring again. After explaining why I believe Drogba is no longer needed by Chelsea, Villas-Boas has very much made Fernando Torres the main man within the club. The patience the striker was shown at the start of the season seems to be paying off as Torres is set to return to the side this weekend after bagging four goals in his last four appearances.
Throughout his short managerial career, Villas-Boas has had to deal with many claims that he is too inexperienced to be appointed as manager at high profile clubs such as Porto and Chelsea. However, delivering a rousing pre-match speech does appear to be one of Villas-Boas’ skills as Porto goalkeeper Beto describes how he felt after hearing his ex-manager’s team talk before the Europa League final, “It was so moving it brought tears to my eyes.” Not bad for such an inexperienced manager. Beto continues “Every player left that room sure we would beat Braga.” Whilst such a team talk can only be saved for the biggest of games, André Villas-Boas definitely has enough in his armoury to bring success to Chelsea.
If given time, which is not always a luxury that Chelsea managers get, Villas-Boas is certain to bring unequalled success to SW6. After having solved the Torres dilemma and seemingly reinstalled the siege mentally that Mourinho bought to the club, the young manager at Chelsea can now concentrate on bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge and finally bringing Champions League glory to the club where it is most craved.
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