Christopher Lee/Getty Images
There are sayings that suggest to move forward we can’t look back, but there are others that say we learn from our past. I am not a trained linguist or collector of cliché sayings, but I do know that both have some truth and both have their faults.
Villas-Boas was specifically brought in to create an idea of the former at Stamford Bridge. Abramovich wanted to evolve out of the direct style of attack that rested on a stout, resolute defense and become more in sync with the current trend of the possession game.
To do this, he felt it necessary to mitigate the responsibilities of his elder club leaders and bring in new players to transition. However, the plan backfired, as the new players are not getting the job done on the field and costing Chelsea points.
Then Villas-Boas goes back to the old guys to rescue him but forces them to play in a foreign style. It is as if he was sabotaging the season.
Saturday’s win over Bolton represented a crucial moment in Villas-Boas’ Chelsea career. For the first time I have noticed, he put the need for a result ahead of his own philosophy, and it paid off in some of the best footballing we have seen from the team all season.
A starting lineup that paired Ashley Cole, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba for the first time all season, brought back memories of 2010 “playstation football.”
Villas-Boas recognized that he had indeed made the right move after the match when asked about whether or not Lampard would stay next season:
I hope so. It does not depend on me. It depends on three parts—I want him, the person wants to stay and the club wants him. Frank goes on and on breaking the club's records and that is important for him. I congratulate him for that. He is a player who has been involved with all managers before and played in most of the games. The only difference this year from the years before is that we have more competition in midfield and things become more difficult for everybody. But Frank is now in the top five of players most used so he is up there with the best.
Here he not only recognizes what he can do for the team but what he has done for the club.