6 Reasons Andre Villas-Boas Can Be a Long-Term Success at Tottenham Hotspur
Plenty of the sceptics were won over after Spurs claimed a first win at Old Trafford in 23 years last month, but it is still early days in his tenure at White Hart Lane.
Villas-Boas faces another stiff test when his new club host former employer Chelsea on Saturday. But, win or lose against the European champions and Premier League leaders this weekend, there are encouraging signs to suggest that AVB can make a better go of things at Spurs than he did at Stamford Bridge.
Here are six reasons Villas-Boas can succeed at Tottenham.
He Has the Squad
Last season, former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp led the club to fourth place in the Premier League.
Villas-Boas has inherited a squad which has lost star playmaker Luka Modric to Real Madrid and talismanic, but injury-prone, defender Ledley King to retirement. AVB gained five high-quality additions—France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, versatile defender Jan Vertonghen, midfielders Moussa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson and forward Clint Dempsey.
And that is without even mentioning striker Emmanuel Adebayor rejoining the club on a permanent basis following his successful loan spell last season. Last term's player of the season, Scott Parker, is yet to appear for Villas-Boas through injury.
He Will Be Given Time at Tottenham
When Chelsea poached Villas-Boas from Porto in the summer of last year for an unprecedented compensation, he was given the explicit brief of overhauling Chelsea's ageing squad, even if the majority of that squad had finished second the previous season and won the double the year before that.
However, the Chelsea players did not take too kindly to this, and their unwillingness to adapt, combined with mistakes made by the manager, got Villas-Boas sacked before the spring.
Save for a catastrophic run of results akin to that overseen by former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos, Villas-Boas swill be afforded a lot more time by both his players and the club's hierarchy to forge his long-term project.
He Has a Winning Mentality
Villas-Boas' time at Chelsea led to many in England to dismiss him as a no-hoper, but the reason he was hired by the Blues was his success at previous club Porto.
In his one season in charge, Villas-Boas won the Portuguese league unbeaten, claimed a domestic double and a European treble as his side took the Europa League by storm.
The last year of Villas-Boas' career ended in failure.
The year before that was an unmitigated success, and his experience of winning could prove invaluable at White Hart Lane.
He Has Shown a Willingness to Adapt
As much as resistance from the dressing room contributed to Villas-Boas' downfall at Chelsea, he did not help himself either.
His insistence on Chelsea playing the high defensive line, which worked so well at Porto, saw results suffer after it became clear that the same tactic would not work with every set of players.
His chippy relationship with the media also won him few friends, and that in turn did not nurture much empathy from the club's fans.
Since joining Spurs, he has evidently learned from his past mistakes.
These days he can hardly give the press enough time (his press conference on Thursday ahead of the Chelsea game lasted over an hour) and he has gone for a policy of evolution, not revolution, on the pitch, too.
He Is Not Afraid to Make Big Calls
Although Villas-Boas has adopted a softer approach in his new job, he has still managed to stamp his authority on the team.
When Adebayor rejoined the club on a permanent basis late in the summer transfer window, the Togolese could easily have been thrown straight back into the team. After all, this was a player who scored 17 league goals and set up another 11 last term.
Instead, Villas-Boas persisted with the in-form Jermain Defoe as his lone striker, and has been rewarded with some of the best form of the striker's career.
Similarly, veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel was retained in goal for several league games after Lloris' arrival, but the American's record run of consecutive league appearances was halted at 310 when the French keeper finally got his first league start against Aston Villa.
For all Friedel's inspired form, Lloris delivered Spurs' first league clean sheet of the season.
If he is to be a true long-term success at Tottenham, Villas-Boas will need to get plenty more big calls right.
His Role at the Club Is Clear
When Harry Redknapp replaced Juande Ramos in October 2008, Spurs were only too grateful to hand over the keys to their new man in order to clean up the mess in which his predecessor had left the club.
Redknapp certainly did an excellent job in turning around the club's fortunes, but he got too comfortable in his role.
His over-friendly relationship with the media—he was never too busy to stop and give an impromptu quote from his car window—led many to believe he was damaging the club's credibility, something compounded by his long, flagrant and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to land the England job.
Villas-Boas has since been brought in as a head coach rather than a manager, re-establishing a clear chain of command which keeps members of the club's hierarchy, such as chairman Daniel Levy, firmly in charge.
Such a set-up means that Villas-Boas—very much a consummate professional in any case—cannot get complacent in his seat, which should motivate him to keep striving to improve the club's fortunes.