Chelsea Manager Andre Villas-Boas has been in the media throughout the past few weeks as his club continues to look in crisis with the Blues suffering across all competitions. With only two wins in the club’s last ten English Premier League games the pressure is mounting.
Rumors abounded this week that AVB was expected to lose his job with many media outlets believing that former interim manager Guus Hiddink was about to swoop in for a second time in several years. However, Hiddink was announced as the new manager of newly mega rich Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala according to Metro on February 17, 2012.
Villas-Boas has been quick to squash any rumors in Metro that Russian billionaire club owner Roman Abramovich does not support him in light of the belief that the locker room is not behind the manager:
“There was a meeting of technical staff and players [after the 2-0 defeat to Everton], nothing dramatic,’ said Villas-Boas.
‘That is normal,’ he said.
‘They don’t have to back my project. It’s the owner who backs my project.”
With this weekend’s fifth round Football Associations Cup match on the horizon against Birmingham City Villas-Boas still believes that his job is no more under threat than at any other point in the past week:
“I don’t think so, but it’s a question that you will have to ask the owner,’ he said ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Birmingham and Champions League last-16 first leg at Napoli.
‘I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have.
‘In the end, that is the objective of getting us the best position possible in the league, plus these two trophies, which we are fighting for.’
Player support looks to be a problem for the manager particularly because of his previous involvement with the club under the regime of Jose Mourinho, a man that is still much respected by former players and remains in contact with many of them.”
Villas-Boas commented in TalkSport that he has no problems with players contacting their former manager and his former boss:
“It’s normal – I have emotional attachment to the people I have managed in Academica and Porto, and I text them and they text back.
“It’s really normal for manager relationships with players they’ve managed before. For sure I have no problem with [my players texting Mourinho].”
At the age of only 34 years Villas-Boas also is around the age or close to that of many of his players which could be causing a lack of respect for him as he is not able to take on an older mentor position but is possibly forced more into being friends at times.
Unfortunately that position he is being put into seems to be leading to a glaring lack of respect and former Chelsea defender Mark Bosnich believes this to be the key problem for the manager at this time as he quoted in an interview with TalkSport:
“You look at people differently when they have been at a club before in another capacity and another role with a different manager,” Bosnich told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“Villas-Boas has suddenly joined Chelsea and become the top man and that makes it difficult [for the players].
“His job description was to clear out the club but it’s very difficult to do that in any club when you’re talking about legends who have won things.
“When the players have known you before as part of Mourinho’s team, but not really an important player at the club, it can be very, very difficult. His age might be playing a factor too.
“We should have been on red alert when he told the players to come over and celebrate with him to try and show that he’s got the acceptance of the team.
“The only person he needs to satisfy is Roman Abramovich but results are going to decide his future. If he doesn’t make the Champions League place, then I can’t see him staying.”
The Sunhas quoted Villas-Boas as getting set to clear out the players that do not support him as he is now to the point that if he does not exert his control and literally show the players who is the boss he will face a serious problem ever leading the club:
“If the players want to be part of this club’s future, they have to support the project with their performances.
“If some of them don’t support me, that’s normal.
“Two players have already left and there will be further departures in the future. Contacts will have to be addressed and changes will be made.
“We have to defend the Chelsea badge, because they don’t pay us to be a failure and everybody understands the demands to be successful at this club.
“You don’t contemplate rewarding people who under-perform in any football team and our objective now is to get the best possible position in the Premier League and continue to fight for two trophies.
“In the situation we are in, we have to demand we do a lot better. We really need some results to put us back on track.”
However, it seems that no matter what AVB is being looked at as a manager that will only make it to the summer. Former Chelsea now Inter Milan manager Claudio Ranieri knows all too well what can happen at the London club if results do not come quickly as he was sacked in 2004 for finishing second in the EPL and only reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
In an interview quoted by the Daily Mirror Ranieri had this to say on the topic at hand:
“I think he has to win a trophy this year to stay in his job.
“I was sacked because I didn’t win – that is the rule and nothing has changed.”
The Blues start their first knockout stage tie with Italian Serie A side Napoli only two days after their FA Cup match against Birmingham in England and Ranieri believes that the Neapolitans have the upper hand because of Chelsea’s current state:
“I think Chelsea now is not in a good psychological condition.”
“This is a big match for Napoli and they are a strong team.
“They have shown what they can do this season by beating Manchester City.
“And I am an Italian, so I hope Napoli have a very good match.”
In the end perhaps AVB does have some of the attention of a few remaining star players such as 33-year-old striker Didier Drogba who is back with the club after losing the final match of the African Cup of Nations with his heavily favored Ivory Coast National team. Drogba made the following comments to The Sun:
“If we don’t make the top four it would be a disaster.
“Every time we’ve started a season since I’ve been with Chelsea we never even finished as low as fourth.
“We have to make the top four because Chelsea is a big club. Of course it can happen that the club goes below fourth.
“When I joined Chelsea the club was second and I helped them to be first. It is the hardest season I’ve known since I’ve been here.
“The players and fans are used to being in the first two or three but this is different.
“We are having a difficult season and it’s not always easy when you change manager and there are new players to fit in the team. I know that because I’ve had six managers in my time at Chelsea.
“For me the manager’s age is not an issue, you have to respect his position and his authority.”
Perhaps the return of the powerful striker will help his teammates realize what he has in that you have to respect your manager before you can go anywhere as a player either on the pitch or on the league table.
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