Andre Villas-Boas: 5 Ways He Has Made Chelsea Weaker
Whether or not the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas was a good idea, there aren't many people who were too surprised.
Roman Abramovich is certainly not known for his patience, and managers who have had more success than the young Portuguese coach, have felt Abramovich's axe prematurely.
Villas-Boas talked of a three-year plan he had for the Blues, and Chelsea may have missed out on one of the most illustrious eras of their history. But for the short time he was in charge at Stamford Bridge, he didn't fill any of the fans, players and most importantly the owner with any confidence.
Andre Villas-Boas is a talented manager, and I'm sure he has a bright career ahead of him, but maybe the Chelsea job was a leap too soon.
This list shows five ways in which his reign damaged Chelsea and took them a step in the wrong direction.
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Chelsea have never been the media's favourite club, and many fans feel they get an unfair bias against them.
Earlier this season, Villas-Boas had some very strong comments about newspapers and certain television pundits. Although this was a courageous move, and he should be respected for defending his club, the media never sees it this way.
A vendetta was put in motion against Chelsea, with many stories of the apparent disruption within the squad being put on the back pages almost every day.
Villas-Boas' timing in this outburst was the main issue, with him being such a young manager, he was yet to have the experience to handle these issues being made so public.
Players always say they don't read the papers, but they must have got wind of some of these stories, and they are only human and can not help but be influenced by what they hear. So these stories, whether true or untrue, may have had an impact on disrupting the squad's togetherness even further.
Style of Play
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When Chelsea were playing under Jose Mourinho, they received the tag of "boring."
Chelsea fans didn't mind though, because they were winning titles and trophies, which is something the club had been lacking before Mourinho took over.
But when your club is playing unattractive football, and are not winning, that is when a problem arises.
When Villas-Boas took over, he spoke of how he would bring flair and exciting attacking football to Chelsea's play, a quote that pleased fans and owner alike. But Chelsea never did live up to this idea, and instead they have been playing some of the worst football seen during the Roman Abramovich era.
Mata was an inspired signing and has helped the team in their forward play, but Chelsea need a true playmaker, and the "bargain bin" signing of Raul Meireles, has not proved fruitful.
Holding Back the Youth
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Chelsea have never been renowned for their amazing youth policy, but their have been some bright talents emerging in recent years.
Many thought that this season would be the one that some of these young players began to get more game time and hopefully break into the first team.
Instead of this, the majority of the academy grown players were shipped out on loan for the rest of the season. The most notable of these is Josh McEachran who has been called "The Next Lampard" and "The Future of Chelsea."
The club did spend some money on some promising youngsters, Belgian wonderkids; Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, but one was shipped back on loan to the club he was purchased from and Lukaku has almost zero first team game time.
Instead of trying these players in the first team, and seeing if they added a spark, Villas-Boas opted to play the likes of Malouda and Kalou, two players who have not been playing at the level Chelsea would expect for a while now.
Rows with Players
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If the papers are to be believed (and they usually aren't), the Chelsea dressing room was in a state of chaos under Andre Villas-Boas.
While I don't think it was as bad as it was made out to be, there was definitely a split between the players and the manager, and perhaps a lack of faith in Villas-Boas from some of the club's senior players.
Who was in the right in these exchanges doesn't really matter, what matters is that Villas-Boas lost the respect of some his most important players. At all big clubs there are voices that make themselves heard in the squad and when he took on the Chelsea job, he should have expected this.
It is a shame that this happened, but it isn't the first manager this was an issue for. Maybe his lack of experience at the top level caused these fall outs to escalate, we just now have to hope that it hasn't left any lasting damage on the squad's morale.
Strange Squad Selections and Substitutions
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During the first part of the season, Villas-Boas' squad selections seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary, and he was trying new partnerships to see what worked, which was to be expected.
But as the season progressed, more and more of his decisions left me, and I'm sure others, scratching our heads.
The Fernando Torres topic has become a joke, and I'm sure Villas-Boas wanted him scoring as much as everyone else did, so I can't understand his logic in substituting him in games where the three points were already in the bag. Torres is a man short of confidence, so being substituted for Malouda at 70 minutes wouldn't have helped him.
His worst mistake was the starting 11 he chose against Napoli, it was ridiculous. With Chelsea's title challenge pretty much over, the Champions League should have been the clubs main priority. So when I read the team sheet and saw Lampard, Essien and Ashley Cole on the bench, my head was in my hands.
There is no doubt that a full strength Chelsea side in top form are capable of beating Napoli, but in these big games you need your experienced players more than ever.
He let his emotions and personal problems with certain players get in the way of his judgement, which is something he will learn not to do as his career progresses.