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4 Difficulties That Andre Villas-Boas Has Had To Deal With At Chelsea

A look over Andre Villas-Boas’ career, his time at Chelsea, the troubles he’s faced during his time at Stamford Bridge and where we’re likely to go from here.

Andre Villas-Boas

The Porto team of 2010/2011 was widely acclaimed. They dominated the Portuguese league like no other team had done in a while, and crowned their supreme dominance with the league title accompanied by an unbeaten record in the league.

They had wonderful strikers in Falcao and Hulk that made scoring look like a walk in the park, and played a brand of football that was both effective and devastating. But the director in chief of this orchestra was a fresh faced, suave young man who looked like he belonged in a Gucci or Versace advert, and not at the side of a football pitch screaming expletives at eleven athletes. This man was none other than André Villas-Boas (AVB).

The story of his rapid rise in football management is now widely known, as he only had a short stint with Academica before showing enough for FC Porto to come calling. Winning the league unbeaten with FC Porto and becoming the youngest manager in history to win a European competition, made him the toast of the football world and everybody was watching closely to see what this bright eyed, exciting new comer would do next. Would he stay and try to keep the team he had built together so as to make a charge for the Champions League trophy? Or would he be lured away by a team in a more prestigious league?

Well, the answer was soon upon us as Chelsea came calling and Roman Abravmovich paid a handsome sum to get his man. And this is where it gets interesting; AVB left a team where he had recorded success, had players that trusted him, a club president that believed in him and fans that adored him. He left this team and went to Chelsea football club; which on paper looks like a good deal (hard to refuse a chance with a top club in the biggest league). But at that point, Chelsea FC was a crisis waiting to happen. I’m going to talk about a few issues that AVB has had to deal with during his time at Chelsea.

1. Torres

Shortly before his arrival, the club had made a significant investment in Fernando Torres and the Spaniard had made a difficult start to his career at Stamford Bridge. Villas-Boas has been under pressure to get the best out of an unfamiliar player, who’s low on confidence.

2. Winning Over Key Players

Chelsea have a core group of ageing players who have been key to the clubs past successes. The likes of Terry, Lampard, Drogba and Cole have been first team regulars for years now and it couldn’t have been easy to win over these players and impress your ideas on them. To compound issues, some of these old players were around the same age as the incoming coach!

3. Mourinho 

The ‘Mourinho effect’ is also very much still in the hearts of these players, as well as the fans. The ‘Special One’ was adored by the Stamford Bridge faithful after a hugely successful time with the Blues and the players loved him. Not an easy act to follow.

4. Abromovich

Chelsea FC has a benevolent but ‘O so hungry for trophies’ owner that wouldn’t hesitate to relieve any coach of his job at anytime. This owner would also love to dictate the players on the pitch and wanted a fantasy team that would play champagne football, win trophies and look good at the same time. Abramovich must be a nightmare to work for!

With all these issues very much in the forefront, AVB walked blithely into the scene and declared that he was on top of the situation. The only way he could have an easy time of it would have been for him to win games emphatically, keep an unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge, make Torres score (at least a few goals) and make the team play attractive football. But considering the fact that AVB is not a god and can’t simply wave a wand and have all these things happen, he ran into immediate problems.

His tactics did not work as planned, he couldn’t seem to win games at home, and just couldn’t get the right personnel for his formations and kept chopping and changing. He could not get Torres to score and has seen his side out the Premiership title race by Christmas. His scorecard so far on this job has been next to woeful; his only consolation is making it out of the group stages of the Champions League. He has now gone from ‘Most likely to succeed’ to ‘Likely to get the boot’.

We are going to watch what unfolds till the end of the season.  My advice for Chelsea FC and its owner would be for them to keep faith with the boy wonder AVB and allow him do his thing. They most probably will win nothing this season but the rebuilding work that the team needs so much would probably remain on track.

But with all I’ve said, my money is on André Villas-Boas to get sacked at the end of the season and that would truly be unfortunate.

Thanks to @kawlatokun from for submitting this guest post 



  1. jojo

    February 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    1. he does not understand what prewsing is
    2. he cannot ask , really ask players to do certain things, like sturridge to pass the ball to other;
    3. he cannot motivate the team; tha ton this backgroud, say mata does very well in a game, AVB will play it down, and trying to clip his wings by taking him off 10 minutes before the end; he always does this to keep himself the boss! well, then if you do that you cannot motivate people !
    4. he cannot understand the defence;
    5. he envisages MICRO schemes, and asks players to use them live! well, football schemes are meant to be at the macro level, the player decides what to do exactly bearing in mind some grand scheme of a strategy setup! i.e. you cannot tell a player turn the defender twice right, then left once, then look for torres then pass back to essien; that is micro!
    6. i think he is not mature as a man, forget about footballing experience;
    7. he lies in interviews, covers things, even that if he did not lie to himself it would still be good; but after he says: ‘we are happy with the team’ to the press, then he believes it! chelsea is 4th in the table playing terribly badly! AVB has to have this bitter drink, then act!
    ok i am bored to much to say !!!
    i think there is no change AVB can raise the team, any team!

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