Wednesday, 22 June 2011

André Villas-Boas – Football’s Brightest Prospect

With a relatively short experienced manager set to take over the reigns at Chelsea, in one of the biggest transfers of the summer, we ask the questions, and give you the answers into Football’s Brightest Prospect’s and the future Chelsea manager; André Villas-boas

Who is André Villas-Boas?

Luis André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas, known commonly as André Villas-Boas, is a Portuguese football manager born on the 17th October 1977. He is 33 years old and widely expected to take over the vacant managerial position at Premiership side Chelsea. He was an apprentice of late Sir Bobby Robson, who helped him gain his coaching qualifications in the United Kingdom. He has established himself of fantastic scout and strategist of the modern game through backroom spells at Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea.

He is the former manager of Portuguese sides Academica, and FC Porto.

He worked as a trainee with the FC Porto youth team in 1994, under the invitation of Sir Bobby Robson. In 1999, he took the role of technical director of the British Virgin Islands, and in the year 2000 he became the youngest international manager at the time, taking over the national side.

Villas-Boas, who ascertained his UEFA C license in Scotland, stayed in the Caribbean for over a year and a half managing the Virgin Islands national team aged just 21. He remembers the time their well, and admits that it was a difficult learning curve, yet an important experience none the less.

He moved back to Portugal, and was appointed manager of the Porto under 19’s. A role he held up until 2002, when Jose Mourinho was appointed FC Porto first team manager. Mourinho was familiar with Villas-Boas during his time as Sir Bobby Robson’s assistant at Sporting Lisbon, and employed Villas-Boas as a member of the first team coaching staff.

Jose Mourinho had referred to Villas-Boas as his “eyes and ears”, and he was a vital member of the all conquering FC Porto team who won back to league titles (03/04, 04/05), the 2003 UEFA Cup and 2004 Champions League titles.

When Mourinho exited to join Chelsea, Villas-Boas was one of the first men hired to Mourinho’s back room staff. During his tenure at Chelsea, he was in charge of developing strategy, as well as pre match preparation. He was a member of the Chelsea staff that won back to back Premiership titles in 2004/05, 05/06. As well as two League Cups, and the 2007 FA Cup.

When Jose Mourinho was sacked as Chelsea manager in 2007, he waited nine months before joining Inter Milan as manager. Villas-Boas again was drafted in, and again, was a vital member of the back room staff and in their successful title victory.

Villas-Boas was there for only one season, before he left to try his hands at senior management, taking the vacant managerial role at Academica, back in the Portuguese Liga. He secured top flight survival, for a club who were known as one of the weakest side in the Portugal, and he guided them to the Portuguese cup semi-final.

His impressive managerial skills didn’t go unnoticed and he was given the chance to join one of the biggest club in Europe; a role as FC Porto first team manager. His career path followed the same long winding roads, similar to that of his former colleague; Jose Mourinho. The man who has made it no secret that he holds Villas-Boas in extremely high regard.

What are his managerial credentials?

In only his second season in professional management, as manager of FC Porto he guided his side to the Portuguese Primera Liga, Portuguese Cup, Portuguese Super Cup and the UEFA Europa League.

His side blasted their way to the title, scoring 73 goals in 30 matches, winning 27 matches, drawing 3 games and losing none. His side amassed 84 points, and boasted a defence which only conceded 16 goals.

Hulk was the side top goalscorer, hitting 23 goals. Radamel Falcao hit 16 league goals, and scored a record 18 Europa League goals in 16 games.

He broke many records in charge of FC Porto
  • He became the youngest manager to win the UEFA Europa League, aged just 33 years old and 213 days
  • The club record for the most matches across all competitions unbeaten (36). This record was previously held by José Mourinho at 33 matches.[11] Part of this streak was completed by the previous coach of FC Porto, Jesualdo Ferreira
  • The most wins in Europe in one season by a Portuguese club (14)
  • The most points in a 30-game Portuguese league season (84)
  • The highest number of consecutive wins in the Portuguese league (16)
  • The biggest margin over the second placed team in the league (21)
  • The only team to win the Portuguese league without being beaten aside from Benfica in 1972/73
  • On 3 April 2011, Villas-Boas won his first Primeira Liga, five rounds before the end, by defeating second-place Benfica 2–1 away at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon,[15] becoming the third youngest coach to win it, only behind Mihály Sistka (1938–39) and Juca (1961–62). It is the second time that Porto won the Portuguese league by beating its rival at its home soil, the first time being 71 years ago, in the 1939–40 season when Porto clinched the title by defeating Benfica at the Estádio das Amoreiras
  • On 22 May 2011, Villas-Boas won the Treble by winning the Portuguese Cup, equalizing Tomislav Ivić (when he won 4 titles for Porto in 1987/88), and making Porto the first (and only) European team to win a treble twice (Portuguese League, Portuguese Cup and UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League)
What will he bring to Chelsea?

Off the back of a sensational record breaking season, it’s clear he is all about attacking free flowing football. He advocates the 4-3-3 formation, which Chelsea fans became huge admirers of during Mourinho’s reign in charge.

He is a known strategist, a great planner and tactician, with a solid in depth analysis of every opponent. He has the outlook of a scout, combined with the intuition of a coach. The BBC reported that preparation is key for Villas-boas, with every training session being very specific for preparing for the next match. No two training sessions in a day, just one intensive session in the morning, demanding maximum concentration and commitment. Training methods similar to that of Barcelona’s, lots of passing in short spaces, short and sharp, quick and under pressure, pass-and-move with the long ball game a non entity.

A scouting report was posted online a few years ago, was in preparation for a match between Chelsea and Newcastle. The pre match scouting report showed in depth detail on the opponents strengths, weaknesses, ability from set plays, corners, free kicks, everything. He picked up the moniker of “Director of opposition intelligence” during his time at Stamford Bridge, and was renowned for his creating pre match reports which included “personalised DVD’s” of opposition players.

For a copy of the scouting report, tweet me @ and I’ll send you the link.

Can he become a success?

Let’s be honest, one name has cropped up throughout this blog post, and that is Jose Mourinho. Villas-Boas has taken the same career path, and without doubt has a similar understanding and knowledge of the game, and is a man who comes up with the plan to win. A game plan which has brought great success and achievements, both domestically and internationally. Okay the Portuguese League isn’t regarded as one of the toughest in Europe, but its a professional, competitive league none the less, with skilful players and fantastic individual talent.

Villas-Boas is different from Mourinho, he’s more humble and reserved, and has earned great respect over the past year. Seemingly while Mourinho’s reputation has taking a slight decline due to some of his outlandish statements and comments made over the past season.

For Villas-Boas, he will look at it this way. Their will undoubtedly be comparisons to Mourinho, both were never professional footballers. Both were protégé’s of the great Sir Bobby Robson. Both were vital figures behind the scenes before becoming successful managers, both cutting their teeth in Portugal’s northern region.

Villas-Boas is his own man, with his own methods, who has a great knowledge of the game, and has great respect for Mourinho. He will in not want to be judged by the standards he set (especially at Chelsea), nor will he like to be played off against as in some sort of young buck looking to take the “Special One” title.

Chelsea will have an exciting fresh faced manager in charge, with great maturity and intelligence. He will however be judged on how he copes in arguably the World’s toughest league. He’ll be managing the Premiership runners-up, managing some big names within that side; the much talked about player power struggles between players and manager, main culprits being the Club’s captain/spokesman John Terry (who has had his fair share of controversy in the past few years), Frank Lampard (who is the same age as Villas-Boas), Didier Drogba (who is undecided about where his future lies), and the most intriguingly the misfiring Fernando Torres. Can he be the man to rejuvenate the Spanish international, and get him scoring again?

A lot of important questions. All of which can be answered, if he is given time to implement his ways at Stamford Bridge. All football fans are aware of Roman Abramovich having this Real Madrid like culture, whereby unless a manager is delivering the Champions League title, the Premiership title is the only other option that can save your job for another year.

Villas-Boas is a young man, and will need time. One season at the very least he’s guaranteed, but two or three would give a well rounded opportunity to assess how successful/unsuccessful he could really be.

His record in the short period of time he’s spent as a manager, is excellence, and must be what Roman Abramovich for him to fork out nearly £13.3 million compensation for the 33 year old.

My message to the Chelsea fans who are sceptical about the man, or who just don’t know too much about him, is that they have every reason to be optimistic. Villas-Boas has a history of working behind the scenes at Chelsea during their most successful period in their history, as well as the skills he has learned working with Mourinho at Inter, Porto and with Chelsea.

Villas-boas has a chance the dynasty both he, and Abramovich desire. The real question is; can both coincide long enough for relationship to be triumphant or will Abramovich’s ruthless streak in a quest for the Champions League damage the best candidate for that achievement since Mourinho left? Time is the essential factor, but whatever the outcome is, we are in for another enthralling Premier League season, let alone a captivating summer, and the possibility of a new Special One hitting these shores.

Leave your thoughts below, and let me know what you think of the André Villas-Boas and how do you think he will fair at Chelsea?

Real Talk Football


  1. A big risk, still the biggest risks can provide the biggest dividends. REading this he has a pretty useful background if we're honest, never really knew about him, but not many people knew about Mourinho and look how that turned out. It'll be more than interesting to see how it plays out.