Yesterday Chelsea confirmed the appointment of new manager Andre Villas-Boas on a three year, £5 million pound deal after agreeing to pay the contract release fee of £13.3 million with Portuguese champions Porto.
The 33 year old was reportedly willing to pay the release clause himself to engineer a move to the premier league outfit, and now returns to the club after working under former boss Jose Mourinho as a scout for the blues between 2004 and 2007.
It is his time with Jose Mourinho, combined with his youthfulness and early success that has naturally led to comparisons with the Special One from all corners of the press. The “new Mourinho”, or “Mini-Mou” and the “Special One, Part Two”, have all been banded about over the past year. But just what makes the new Premier League’s youngest manager so distinctly differently and yet fruitfully similar to his Portuguese counterpart…
Born into an affluent family on October 17, 1977, Andre Villas-Boas was taught the English language by his grandmother which was no difficult feat, as his great-grandmother moved from the suburbs of Stockport to Portugal.
Growing up his passion and enthusiasm for football was unfortunately not matched by his ability. A midfielder who was destined not to become a professional footballer, Villas-Boas took a liking to the tactical aspect of the game and determined to form a career in the sport through journalism.
It wasn’t until 1994 that his path began to unfold, when F.C. Port appointed former England manager Bobby Robson, who found himself living in the same block as the young Villas-Boas. Seeing his potential, Robson vested his interest in the young Portuguese and encouraged him to take his FA coaching badges in Lilleshall, and sent him to spend time with George Burley’s Ipswich Town before returning to Porto under Robson, to coach the youth team for a year.
Villas-Boas’ first jump into first team management came at the age of 21, coaching the British Virgin Islands. His record stands for itself, played 2 lost 2 and conceding 14.
In 2002 he joined forces with Jose Mourinho for the first time. Although he followed Mourinho to Chelsea and Inter Milan, it is his time at Porto that was most crucial. As opposition scout, Villas-Boas compiled and collated information on the strategies and tactics of the opposition, but also composed profiles and DVD’s of individuals’ weaknesses, strengths and tendencies for his team.
His time with Mourinho and through to this present day showed his ability to man manage and being a excellent communicator who holds a great connection with his players, and is one to always defend his players and club, if only in a little more reserved fashion than Mourinho. This tenacity has also been shown when a coach at Chelsea, particularly in the Champions League draws against Barcelona.
The first club management role came with coaching Portuguese side Academica. Leaving Inter in October 2009 (he and Mourinho apparently don’t talk anymore); Villas-Boas took over a winless club that were slumped at the bottom of the table. By the end of the season Academica finished eleventh in the league, ten points clear form relegation winning 11 games. He also guided them to the semi-final of the Portuguese league cup, only to suffer defeat to his future employer F.C. Porto. His time at Academica was successful, not only because he kept their top flight status alive, but because of the manner and style of attacking play that was attractive to the eye.
It was his next club that is the reason why he is now at Chelsea. It is amazing what can happen in a year, but Villas-Boaz has done it all in just a single season. With Porto he became the youngest manager to win a European trophy. Set a club record of 36 unbeaten games in all competitions. They remained unbeaten in the league campaign last season. He guided them to be the first club to win a league, cup and European treble, twice.
He also has the highest number of consecutive league wins and the most seasonal wins in Europe by a Portuguese club.
There is no need to tell the Porto story. His records say it all.
This has all been achieved by a more attack minded version of Mourinho’s 4-3-3 formation, encouraging the wide-men to burst forward whilst allowing the fullbacks to roam in advancing positions.
Andre Villas-Boas has similar styles to Mourinho, he is tenacious, calculated and analytical. But he is not as egotistical or boisterous as the former manager; neither does he have as many defensive tendencies in his game plan.
It was reported that Roman Abramovich once said he would rather win a game 4-3 than 1-0. Well, Porto only kept three clean sheets in the league last season, so Mr Abramovich might, just might, have got the right man this time around.