Short-sighted attitudes unfair on Andre Villas-Boas

Everybody makes mistakes. It is a natural consequence of progression. In order to reach the highest heights and conquer a paramount objective, errors have to be tolerated and learned from. However, when exterior circumstances throw a mistake into the spotlight, stripping it bare for all to see, it can be almost impossible to overcome.

A fault that will never be removed from the memory of Andre Villas-Boas was his unsuccessful tenure at Chelsea; a reign that tainted the young manager’s glittering CV. A controlling spell that has seemingly hypnotised the majority of pundits and fans into dismissing the Portuguese almost faultless career as a manager prior to his venture into the English game has well and truly taken hold. It may seem unjust that people jump onto the media bandwagon of ridicule that can be aimed at managerial tenures which do not immediately bring success to a club. Granted, the passion that fans feel for their team can sometimes eradicate any sympathy or patience. However, AVB is not an isolated incident and many a failing manager has had to endure the turmoil of being recognised for their failures as opposed to their achievements.

Villas-Boas had a record at Porto that rivals many stand-alone seasons by even the greatest managers of his generation. Taking over at the Estadio do Dragao from Academia, the 34-year old guided the Portuguese giants to an unprecedented treble and an undefeated season in the Primeira Liga. Escalating his status allowed the obligatory managerial vacancy rumours to take full flight and within weeks of the seasons climax, AVB was the new man at the helm at Stamford Bridge. The comparatively disastrous story need not be repeated but it is fair to say that his appointment was a gamble, especially with the financial elements that were so “perceptively” picked upon by the press after Villas-Boas reign at Chelsea was terminated. However, it is fair to say that if his season in London were to be judged as thoroughly as it was, then his season at Porto should also be treated with similar coverage. However, his time in his home nation was soon washed away by a tidal wave of media victimisation. When following in the footsteps of someone as popular with fans and media as Jose Mourinho, it must be nigh on impossible to renew a comparative connection, especially as similarities between Villas-Boas and his aforementioned compatriot were so widespread.

What can be argued is that AVB will have expected or, at the very least, been warned of the cut throat disparagement that will greet a failed Premier League manager. The young coach made himself available to take on the role, fully aware that should it have imploded (which it did) consequences would be severe in terms of rebuilding his reputation. The short sightedness of fans should not solely be blamed. The manager’s tactics did fail at times and the Chelsea squad were not on his side. The Portuguese has to take the responsibility for his own premature dismissal at the Bridge. What has to be realised is that, one mistake does not make Villas-Boas a bad manager who can never succeed or achieve what he did at Porto, the errors in judgement at Chelsea will only make his character stronger and will allow him to realise that he cannot take any prisoners and must re-align his tactics that worked so superbly in Portugal and failed so immeasurably in England.

Now almost certain to take charge at Tottenham next season, Villas-Boas is a reasonably controversial choice, or so the media would like to think. A second chance at Premier League management will spur (no pun intended) the Portuguese on to achieve with Tottenham what he wanted to achieve with Chelsea. However, if this stint in the toughest, most conversed sporting league in the world is unsuccessful, AVB may have no chance to ever regain the belief or admiration of any English suitor in the future. He has to find the ingredients that allowed Porto to dominate domestically and in Europe and adapt it to White Hart Lane. After all, it is no fluke that he was and still is the youngest manager ever to win a European Competition.