A familiar feeling engulfed all Chelsea fans and in fact, all Premier League fans when Andre Villas-Boas was unceremoniously dumped by Chelsea FC after less than a season of being their manager. Villas-Boas’s assistant Roberto Di Matteo is now acting in the position, making him their seventh manager in six years. The Blues owner, Roman Abramovich, certainly likes to sift through his managers.
The event happened shortly after a lacklustre performance by the Blues that resulted in a 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion. This was a continuation of Chelsea’s poor run of form,. They have won only one out of their last seven matches, which has seen the team drop out of Champions League qualification to fifth place.
Villas-Boas brought a lot of hype into the West London outfit when he joined them at the beginning of this season. He had brilliant credentials at FC Porto in Portugal. In his first year as manager there, he led the team to four major titles. To add to that, the team was undefeated in the Portuguese Primeira Liga with only three draws.
Sure, you could argue that the Premier League is a big step up from the Premeira Liga, but Villas-Boas definitely had a lot of potential, and many teams were afraid of the prospect of Chelsea with him as the manager.
Let’s take a moment and look at the one of the most, if not the most, successful managers in the world, Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United. He did not win his first major trophy at Old Trafford until his third season, but now look what he’s done with the team. He has developed the Red Devils into one of the top clubs in Europe with winner’s medals from every major trophy possible. However, he had something that Villas-Boas did not have – time.
The position of manager takes time, something that Villas-Boas was not given. Moulding a team that has been playing with each other for years, one which he did not develop himself, and changing the tactics is something that just can’t be rushed. It might be difficult and very demanding at times, but how can the rewards be reaped if there is no end product? Building a team takes time, and everyone knows that…well everyone apart from a certain Russian owner.
Pep Guardiola of FC Barcelona won silverware in his first season as manager, but he made a heap of changes to the original team and was able to mould it as his own. He also had close relationships with his players. Villas-Boas, unfortunately, did not have the chance to do that.
Andre Villas-Boas should not be the sole brunt of the blame in Chelsea’s recent demise. He did not have a good relationship with the original players, with many of Chelsea’s stars disagreeing with his managerial methods. Frank Lampard admitted that he had “the hump” for the new manager and stated that his relationship with Villas-Boas was “not ideal”. It would’ve been tough for Villas-Boas to assert his authority and develop a team when the players simply do not want to play for him.
Many Premier League managers have already voiced their disappointment with the sacking of Villas-Boas. Sunderland manager, Martin O’Neill said, “You don’t get very much time these days and I genuinely couldn’t be more disappointed. I feel for him.”
Even Sir Alex Ferguson expressed his dismay at what had happened. “The lad’s been under pressure but what you need in this job is time.”
For Chelsea, players win games, but managers lose them. With seven different managers entering and leaving Stamford Bridge since the Jose Mourinho era, the big question is this: Who will risk taking the position of being the new Chelsea manager? There are many rumours and speculations about the man that will rise up to the challenge, but will Abramovich just end up adding another scalp to his already impressive collection? We’ll just have to wait and see.