Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas does not want the credit should his side make him the youngest coach to win a major European title.Villas-Boas, 33, can create history if Porto wins the all-Portuguese Europa League final against Sporting Braga on Wednesday, which they are strongly favoured to do.
Porto went undefeated on their way to the Liga Sagres title, and can claim a treble if they triumph in the Europa League and the Taca de Portugal final against Vitoria Setubal on Sunday. But speaking on Tuesday, the highly rated manager said the club’s exploits are not about him.
“People focus a lot on the work of the manager and I don’t see it that way,” Villas-Boas said on Tuesday.
“I don’t see myself as a one-man show. Football isn’t won by one person but by collective competence. It is the quality of the players and the structure of the club.”
“I just want to make my players give their most. I give them room to express themselves because that’s how they develop. I promote their talent and let them make their own decisions. There are no dictators.”
“We don’t see the game as a tactical game. If you are a dictator of choices, players won’t be able to explore their possibilities to the full. You have to be able to free them.”
Villas-Boas is a former assistant to Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, but said the reason he left his role under his countryman at Inter Milan – after also working with him at Porto and Chelsea – was to further his own managerial ambition.
Villas-Boas joined Liga Sagres side Academica and guided them free of relegation trouble, before his appointment as Jesualdo Ferreira’s replacement at Porto in June 2010.
”The position I had with him was a position he needed some help on. I understood my role from the beginning and tried to fulfil it with maximum professionalism,” Villas-Boas said.
“When I left him, he took on another person who I hope gives him the same level. Regarding why I left Inter, it was because I wanted the extra edge to fulfil my ambitions as a professional coach, so I took the risk to find my own job at Academica.”