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Andre Villas-Boas' Firing Illustrates Chelsea's Biggest Issue

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02:  Roman Abramovich sits amongst the Russian Bid Team after winning the bid to host the 2018  Tournament duirng the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Countries Announcement at the Messe Conference Centre on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Dan RenfroCorrespondent IIINovember 15, 2016

There is no trust at Chelsea.

The players, manager and owner are all on their separate islands. They don't want anything to do with each other because they don't trust anyone.

That's Chelsea's biggest problem.

When Andre Villas-Boas came in, he said he wanted to change the system and start a new culture at Chelsea. He said he would get new players to fit his style, and he would bring trophies to Stamford Bridge.

Roman Abramovich loved it. As a fan, I sure loved it. In retrospect, it's easy to see the players didn't love it.

Villas-Boas was clearly talking about clearing out the old guard (Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard, to name two). Obviously, those players didn't like being talked about that way.

They had brought trophies and glory to the club. They had given the majority of their careers to the club. And this new, young manager was going to send them all packing so that his system would work?

How on earth is that fair?

Fair or not, that's what Villas-Boas planned to do. The players revolted passively, and Chelsea's dressing room was a ticking time bomb.

The players didn't trust the manager, which prevented them to responding to anything he might have to say.

NAPLES, ITALY - FEBRUARY 21:  Andre Villas-Boas the Chelsea manager reacts to events on the pitch during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between SSC Napoli and Chelsea FC at Stadio San Paolo on February 21, 2012 in Naples, Italy.  (P
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As Chelsea's form started dipping, Abramovich started to get involved. The unrest in the dressing room became more evident. Some players started publicly backing the manager, while others admitted to having problems with him.

The owner didn't trust the manager to do his job, which obviously didn't help Villas-Boas gain any more trust from the players.

Nevertless, Villas-Boas talked a confident talk. He acted cool with the press. Nothing seemed to phase him. Then, he admitted that he feared the axe.

Clearly, he didn't trust that the owner was fully behind him.

Now, Villas-Boas is gone.

But that doesn't mean the trust will come into the club.

Villas-Boas was at Chelsea for eight months, and he was gone because he wasn't successful in those first six months. That's not a very good message to send.

Look, I was behind Villas-Boas from Day 1. Even through this past weekend, I supported what he was trying to do.

It was about more than just a system or winning. It was about trust.

I trusted Villas-Boas to get the job done. At this point, that's looking like misplaced trust. Fair enough.

However, it's trust all the same, and that's something Chelsea don't have. The players never trusted the manager. The manager never trusted the owner. And the owner didn't seem to trust anyone.

Consequently, Chelsea's season has been fairly chaotic. The team can't find a rhythm, and their form remains pretty poor. Unfortunately, I don't know if anything is going to change.

Until Chelsea do find trust within their club, they will continue to apply short-term fixes to long-term problems.

As long as Chelsea are doing that, they will never have the sustained success everyone is craving.

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