Andre Villas-Boas has been a walking sound bite. A dream to media personnel, it seems that every time he steps in front of a microphone, the papers come away with a sweet little nugget of a quote that will leave Chelsea fans scratching their heads in bewilderment.
Perhaps it is a bit overstretching, as I am sure you can go back in the career of any manager and easily find five contradictory statements, but nonetheless, Villas-Boas has constructed a library in just eight months.
Chelsea has been gifted with some fine managers, but not always the best talkers. Carlo Ancelotti spoke with the same enthusiasm as a 80-year-old chemistry professor. Scolari couldn’t talk without yelling at the camera Ozzie Guillen style. And Avram Grant made you wonder if he was not Andre the Giant's younger (and much smaller) brother.
But not Villas-Boas. His impeccable mastery of the English word has led him to stand with bravado before journalists time and time again and make bold proclamations for better or worse. This article takes a look at the latter.
Here are five Villas-Boas quotes that don’t really add up to too much.
It all started with these words:
"It's not just about winning, but winning with a certain amount of flair. Everyone likes attacking football."
Actually Villas-Boas, you are wrong in so many respects. Everyone does not like attacking football. What everyone does like is winning, and winning is what it’s all about.
Don't get me wrong, I, like most, was fooled by the promise of watching Barcelona every week at Stamford Bridge, but I was also wary of how there was a good chance that would not be simple in the Premier League.
Now armed with the luxury of hindsight, I can point to this very first proclamation that Villas-Boas made as the Chelsea boss and ask, “Hey dope, where is my attractive attacking winning football?”
Chelsea’s record is the worst it has been in the past decade, and the play on the field is as bad as ever. They are not tapping the ball around with ease in the opponents' third as we had expected.
On the contrary, they are on the back heel more often than not, trying to defend teams attacks down the wings with incompetent full-backs and little midfield help.
So while I cannot fault him for being optimistic and placing his stamp on the club right away, I can suggest that he should have used a more permanent ink.
He set the bar high by saying winning is not enough and will have to live with those words as long as he is in charge at the Bridge.
They [the players] don't have to back my project. It's the owner who backs my project. Some of them don't back the project? That is normal. I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have.
Logically a sound argument and one that will keep his job for at least a bit longer, but also kind of petty when you really begin to break it down.
Think about it like this: When you work a job, you generally do whatever makes your boss happy. Sometimes it will be things you agree with and enjoy, other times it will be miserable and you will question the logic. But ultimately, it benefits your future to just listen to him.
There is one minor difference between that scenario and Villas-Boas’: Villas-Boas’ boss does not know a thing about the game! It would be like a filmmaker listening to the CEO of a tax company about how to make a movie. The movie will make the CEO happy, but be crap to the rest of the world.
And you don’t need the players' backing? Who do you think is going to play for you with that kind of demonstrative attitude? We all love the romantic notion of strong-willed leader who can intimidate on the sideline simply out of his players' respect for him, but this is the real world.
Players want to be coddled and primped and patted on the head every time they take a shot.
No one is going to want to make the move to a club where the players are secondary. Especially one that is not winning to begin with.
And the blame goes to...
The referee was poor. Very, very poor. And it reflected in the result. I spoke to him at the end and I was very aggressive. I don't care if he's OK or not. Anyone can have a bad day but this was not a bad day for us: it was a good day for us but a bad day for the referee. Conspiracy theories can lead to bans and people calling us cry babies, so we're not saying that. But it keeps happening.
This little selfish outburst followed Chelsea’s 1-0 lost to QPR where referee Chris Foy sent off both Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba.
Now, I am not na apologist for officials, but I hardly doubt a referee at this level and in this league is willing to throw away his entire future and honor over a Chelsea at QPR match. For me, the conspiracy ends there.
But not for our favorite wordsmith.
Villas-Boas’ first battle with the FA ended in a £20,000 fine for expressing his sentiments about how he felt officials had cost them the match.
With the benefit of instant replay, it is still difficult to say whether both of these cards were warranted or not. It will come down to which side of the fence you are on in terms of club support.
But when that is the case, then there are probably as many opportunities for Chelsea to avoid putting themselves in a position where Bosingwa could questionably be the last man and teach David Luiz to not touch a non-threatening player who is off to the side with his back to goal.
Sports are all about understanding what you can’t control—the other teams, the weather, the ref—and making the most of what you can: your own play.
I know I will probably get heat for this, but Foy’s decisions, no matter how atrocious they may seem, were not to blame for the Chelsea loss, and the fact that Villas-Boas failed to realize this will be the point of his downfall.
Can he really cure Torres?
He (Torres) had a good couple of chances, and for you to have chances you have to position yourself to have those good chances and he was there present. With a little bit more luck he will find the back of the net.
When you hire a manager, you generally do it to match the kind of players you have. This was not the case in Villas-Boas’ signing.
Instead, he seems to have been brought here for the purpose of removing the players Chelsea have and instilling an entirely new philosophy to the game. Though I personally object to such a move, it is a a way of doing things that could pay off.
But most of the time, you are not doing it to a team that came within two games of a Premier League title and Champions League final, and you are especially not doing it when you have a £50 million bucket leading your attack.
From the very first day Villas-Boas was announced as the Chelsea manager, there was no greater optimism placed anywhere than on the future of Fernando Torres. The Portuguese boss was expected to instill a new more fluid system that would suit the quick feet of Torres much better than the methodical approach of Ancelotti.
He brought in players Torres was familiar with in Juan Mata and Raul Meireles. flanked him with speedsters that can keep pace like Daniel Sturridge and continued to give him every chance in the world ahead of the more in form Didier Drogba.
But nothing has yet to come of it.
This quote was made following a droll 0-0 draw to Norwich, in which Torres was a non-factor.
Now I have little issue with him complimenting the improving form of Torres, but to blame his lack of tangible production on luck?
Villas-Boas, you are the manager of a world-class team. You run a multi-million pound organization, hold one of the most coveted positions in the game and you are deflecting blame to a fictitious theory that humans have come up with to satisfy our need to reason?
If Torres is lacking in that much good fortune, then if I were on the team I would not get on the same plane with him.
It is okay to blame bad luck on a game where Torres dominates and is a post or two from getting a hat trick, but 16 straight matches without a goal is poor form and total irresponsibility of the manager to put the blame anywhere else.
He said what?
David[Luiz] is going to be one of the greatest central defenders in the world. Why? Because of his characteristics: technical ability, anticipation and speed. I think he's played fantastically well here, but sometimes people have misconceptions and a player has to carry that stamp for the rest of his life.
I just came across this one right now, and my jaw nearly dropped as read it to myself.
Villas-Boas, for all his let downs as the Chelsea manager, never came off as not knowing the game, but here he may have proven that his arrogance about the perception of it can blind him to the truth.
I am going to skip right past the “greatest central defender in the world” bit and get right into where the quote really becomes a mess.
I am going to list five of the game’s best center-backs of recent years: Puyol, John Terry, Vincent Kompany, Carvalho and Nemanja Vidic.
Now, here are five of the best midfielders in recent years: Iniesta, Xavi, Sneijder, Modric and Yaya Toure.
Finally, the five of the best forwards in the world: Christiano Ronaldo, Messi, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez.
Now, I want you to make a list where you rank, from one to fifteen, each player on their combined technical ability, anticipation and speed.
Do any of those defenders crack the top seven? How about the top 10?
No? That’s because those are not important attributes for a defender!
I have no idea how Villas-Boas could honestly reason that David Luiz will be an excellent player in the future off of those points. If anything, they are the reason he suffers so much.
His technical ability gives him overconfidence on the ball, causing him to play with it too much in the back. His anticipation leads him to make judgments too quickly and leads him into poor tackles. And his speed sees him get out of position far too often without him even realizing it.
Sure, there are defenders who excel in those places, but the likes of Lucio and Pique do it in addition to good position, a strong aerial presence and intelligent play.
I am not here to suggest that Luiz is a hopeless cause, but he will never gain success by heightening the parts of his game that Villas-Boas recognizes.
But what is most dumbfounding is that this is what Villas-Boas thinks makes a good defender. It puts an extra bit of doubt in my mind about how he sees the game overall.
And there you have it, the very first installment of Villas-Boasisms quotes, which will surely expand day by day.
You know, I thought it would be a benefit to have a manger who was as fluent in the English language as he is, but apparently, the more you know, the more arrogant you become.
So, what was your favorite quote by the Chelsea man thus far? Is there a good one I missed? Or did I pretty much sum up the Villas-Boas experience?
Let me know down below and thanks for reading!
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