Why Andre Villas-Boas must step out of the shadows

Andre Villas Boas was part of Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff two years ago, and he has just 20 months’ experience of coaching first-team football – but with four trophies to his name he has now risen to one of the toughest job in football.

With a massive €15m (£13m) managerial transfer fee to justify, the 33-year-old has arrived at Chelsea with a three year contract and with the extra pressure of having to satisfy the megalomania owner. Last season Villas-Boas guided Porto to the Portuguese title, the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League title; all achieved without losing a single match and he has followed a very similar path taken by compatriot and predecessor Jose Mourinho.

It appears that his appointment is an attempt by Abramovich to replace Mourinho something Abramovich has not yet managed to achieve. Five managers have failed with the west London side since Mourinho left in 2007. Villas Boas will therefore be under pressure to follow his former boss who lifted the Carling Cup and took the club to their first league title in 50 years with a record tally of 97 pints in his debut season.

The passage through to the next round of the Carling Cup could prove to be more important than accustomed as there is little doubt that Abramovich will want nothing less than a first trophy from Villas Boas during his first season in England. AVB will know that the Russian ownwer is not one to give time to his managers and he will still be after winning the Holy Grail of the Champions League.

AVB may have worked with Abramovich before but the pressure will still be on him to win trophies. His appointment is a signal of intent for a bright new future at Stamford Bridge with the prospect of building a team around young players. He has already signed youngsters like this to add to an aging squad at the Bridge. Romelu Lukaku is one example of this new future while young Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtais and Barcelona B’s Oriol Romeu were also acquired this summer. While preceding managers were quick to dismiss the emerging talent like Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran, Villas-Boas has already showed his faith in these youngsters this season.

The inevitable comparison between Villas-Boas and Mourinho could create great difficulty for the new Chelsea boss who will be forever trying to surpass his achievements and until he does will be living in his shadow. Although the two managers have worked together, they actually have a different style of management. Whereas Mourinho liked his team based upon a solid defensive unit, Villas-Boas has created a style of attacking, free flowing football built around young talented players which we saw in the performance at Old Trafford.

Abramovich appears to have changed his initial aims of immediate success and instead he is now willing to allow Villas-Boas to build a new dynasty. His arrival could herald a shift in mentality at Chelsea that will finally allow the club to shrug off suggestions that he is after a quick-fix success based solely upon financial muscle

There is no doubt that the Russian is determined to win the Premier League back from Manchester United in the near future and in the long term he desperately wants the Champions League title but he may be willing to give time to AVB to mould his team into one that can challenge Barcelona and Manchester United in years to come. Winning a debut trophy would give something to satisfy the owner and eventually help the young manager live up to his mentor’s accomplishments at Stamford Bridge. Only then will he become his own man at the Bridge.
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