THE HUMBLE ONE
NEW CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas admits he will never be able to avoid comparisons with Jose Mourinho but insists his tenure will be underpinned by a focus on the team rather than self-promotion.
The 33-year-old’s career has mirrored that of his mentor, who announced his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2004 by anointing himself as the ‘Special One’, and took another step towards emulating Mourinho by signing a three-year deal with the west London club yesterday.
Articulate and immaculately turned out, on first appearances it would appear that much of Mourinho’s stardust has rubbed off on the protege who won the Treble with Porto last season. But Villas-Boas is adamant he is his own man whose priority will be to re-engerise an ageing squad.
“I was appointed for human qualities,” he said. “I don’t see the game as a one-man show, I see the game as the getting together of collective ideas and good players.
“The most important thing is to motivate the players to get their ambitions right.”
On being compared to Mourinho, who brought Chelsea unprecedented success over the course of his three-year reign, he added: “I think there is no way you can avoid comparison, it is something that is the interest of the media. I didn’t take the Porto job nor the Chelsea job because Jose made the same steps.
“Coaching was not a kind of obsession [for me] and neither did I use Jose as the way to arrive into this path, it was something that happened naturally.”
Mourinho won a total of five major trophies during his Chelsea career, but the absence of a Champions League title meant owner Roman Abramovich’s appetite was never fully satisfied.
Carlo Ancelotti was dismissed in May after failing to follow up his Double winning first season with similar results, while World Cup winner Luiz Scolari and Avram Grant were shelved inside a year.
And Villas-Boas accepts that his tender age and relative lack of experience will offer no safety net against the threat of the sack should he fail to deliver the silverware his new employer craves.
He said: “There is not going to be more or less tolerance for me if I am not successful so this is the challenge I face and I feel confident that we can motivate everybody – the players and the structure.
“I feel confident I can respond to the ambitions of the supporters and the ambitions of the owner and the administration.”
DATES FOR THE DIARY | WHAT WILL THE NEW BLUES BOSS DO NEXT?
4 Jul: Villas-Boas is set to take charge of his first training sessions as Chelsea manager at the start of next month, when the first players return to the club
9 Jul: The new manager’s first match in charge will be upon him quickly, a friendly at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. A week later he takes his team to Portsmouth
21 Jul: A four-match tour of Asia kicks off against a Malaysia XI, with games against Thailand All-Stars, Kitchee and Aston Villa or Blackburn to follow
6 Aug: His last chance for pre-season tweaking will be at Rangers
13 Aug: Villas-Boas makes his Premier League debut with a fairly low-key trip to Stoke City
20 Aug: Blues fans finally get a good look at the boss on his home bow, a visit from Roy Hodgson (inset) and West Brom