AVB – All Past, No Future?

AVB – All Past, No Future?


When Andre Villas-Boas first took over at Chelsea, if you had played spot the difference between him and the previous Portuguese incumbent of the Stamford Bridge hot seat, you’d have been hard-pressed to find even one.

At least that was the impression.

But just over a year later, AVB is doing his best to show everyone the only thing he has in common with Jose Mourinho is his accent.

Saturday’s 5-2 defeat in the North London derby is just the latest in a string of poor results that suggests Villas-Boas certainly isn’t the second coming of the special one.

Tottenham fans reminiscing for the halcyon days of Harry must surely look at what their current manager achieved at Porto and think it’s only a matter of time before things change.

But the truth is the 3-2 win at Old Trafford was more fluke than tactical master-class.  On another day, as they so often do against Spurs, Manchester United would have wiped out that annual head-start with the gusto they always seem to reserve for second halves against the Lillywhites.

And that result against United apart, Tottenham have been below average all season.

AVB’s advocates champion time.  They say he needs it.  And yet when you look back on his managerial career, time is the one thing he has never had.

He spent just eight months in charge of Academica, a single year at Porto, and only nine months at Chelsea.

So where has his reputation come from?

When he spends so little time in a job, how do we know if he’s actually any good?

Everything stems from a single season, when his Porto side won the league title, the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League.  Which is no mean feat; but in hindsight is nothing to write home about either.

Because this was a Porto side with Falcao, Moutinho and Hulk, a team that were by far the best in Portugal, and a team that had been built long before Villas-Boas took charge.  He may have tinkered, but practically everything was already in place for the success that followed.

This was the season that propelled him to the top of Roman Abramovich’s wish list.

But many managers have a good season.  It is when they keep having them that you should take notice.

A year earlier, he had taken bottom-club Acedemica to a respectable 11-placed finish.  But those 12 months at Porto were the catalyst.

Perhaps, given time, he would have replicated his success at Chelsea.  And perhaps he will at Tottenham.  But too many things suggest not.

His substitutions too often befuddle.  His formations too often restrict.  And he has even adopted the touchline pose of the doomed manager, sitting on his haunches, closer to the ground so he can punch it when something invariably goes wrong.

Some men create legacies, not just somewhere, but everywhere.

Others are the bedrock of a single club and that is enough for them.

And a few, like Villas-Boas, strive to step out of shadows that stretch further than their steps can take them.

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  1. Why chelsea citte ‘re ungrateful.sackin of d manager’s n’t d best of solution 2 d chelsea problem.i wish chelsea cittes bad luck.

  2. Sorry but you have this wrong. AVB understands tactics and while he may not have the best interpersonal skills, being the gaffer isn’t a popularity contest. His time at Chelsea was not made easy by the players and the owner: look at RDM going today. Plus it was his first season in the PL. We often say players need a season to settle in a new country, why should this be so different for managers? Then he moves to Spurs where he has not made any of his own signings and has lost the core of his team to injury: King has retired, Parker and Dembele have been out most of the season, and Walker is playing out of position due to BAE being out… Then of course it’s not like Spurs have just sold their two most creative players. Oh wait, they have: Modric and VDV! This is a team in the making and the new manager must be given time to get it the way he wants it: and crucially, time for the players to bond.

    The Arsenal game shows this: he srarted the way he should have and the gunners were dominated until the Ade madness. He then went brave in the second half, conceding a further goal but also scoring a further goal.

    Lasrly, I can’t help but pick you up for the Man Utd comments. Yes they always do well against Spurs, but this has regularly been due to them having good luck: if you are going to quote these individual games and cite luck I would encourage you to look at the previous encounters of the fixture in more detail than the final score!

    • Thank you for your comment, Ben. You are absolutely right that luck has had a big part to play in United’s recent wins (and draws) against Spurs. Goals scooped from over the line, bizarre penalty decisions and further poor refereeing. Luck goes both ways and Tottenham had a lot to cash in at Old Trafford.

      I agree with you about the injuries. With a full team, Spurs are stronger than most. But I’m still unsure about AVB. His entire reputation does seem to stem from one, admittedly amazing, season. I hope he succeeds. For all his apparent surliness, I like him. I just think there are many more mistakes in him before he learns from them, but then he is young.

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