Is Andre Villas-Boas Just as Stubborn as Jose Mourinho?
Andre Villas-Boas is a precocious young managerial talent. When they come around, they're never easy to live with, but they get you results.
Jose Mourinho is very employable despite being grumpy, outspoken and cynical, so perhaps it's only fitting that his protégé is much the same.
The Portuguese tactician didn't exactly light up the world at Chelsea, and it seems he's broken a few eggshells at White Hart Lane too.
The question is as follows: Is he just as stubborn as Mourinho, yet just as determined for success? Does he learn from his mistakes or march on regardless?
The Chelsea conundrum
When AVB was hired as the new manager of Chelsea on 22nd June 2011, he brought his footballing blueprint with him.
Said blueprint was rigid and unchangeable, alienating the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien.
This wasn't really an issue when the Blues were inside the top four, but once they slipped out in February, some started to call for the axe.
The free-flowing 4-3-3 template he had brought over from Portugal required mobile midfielders like Ramires, and the Brazilian was Chelsea's best player under his tenure.
With Lamps getting on, his old legs struggled—he's not exactly Mourinho-esque anymore.
His short stint in England was enough to put most English Premier League fans off his managerial style. Legitimate, then, were the concerns surrounding AVB's appointment as manager of Spurs following the sacking of Harry Redknapp.
Not only have the English public developed a personal distaste for him, but world football aficionados were concerned his rigid footballing philosophy would wreck another great team.
The signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson was a confusing one. According to AVB's ideologies, the Icelandic midfielder was at risk of being stuck out on the right— in Hulk's role from his FC Porto days.
But the man adapted. Rather than his Paulo Bento-esque 4-3-3, he opted instead for a 4-2-3-1, further solidifying it with the recruitment of Moussa Dembele. The formation suited the players. He learnt.
The need to replace Brad Friedel relatively soon was becoming clearer and clearer, but it was still a shock to see AVB sign Hugo Lloris for a potential €15 million late on in the summer transfer window.
The Frenchman was always going to have to earn his place, and the decision to finally hand the international goalkeeper his first EPL start would directly coincide with Friedel's long-standing consecutive starts record.
Was it necessary? probably not, but AVB does things his way, and is showing that alarming tendency of changing things too quickly.
Is he as stubborn and forthright as Mourinho? He most certainly is, but currently lacks the trophy cabinet to back his decisions.
He sees Lloris as his long-term 'keeper and acted appropriately. Why should he have any sympathy for a consecutive games record? He's in this business to win games, not hand out praise.
But equally, could it have waited? Besides nouveau-riche Paris Saint-Germain, Ligue 1 isn't wealthy. Lloris would have been available for the same price in summer 2013.
Was this AVB marking his territory, much like he did when trying to phase Lampard out with a mobile midfield and John Terry with a high defensive line?
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