Since the very first day of appointment of Andre Villas-Boas as the coach of Chelsea, we all expected an instant form of ‘perfection’ in the team; an instantly transfigured side that infused a complete mold of dominance; ready to dispatch any team that comes its way, just like Barcelona, but failing to give full regards to time, the team and the environment.
I know some might argue that he was able to win four trophies with Porto in the Portuguese League and the Europa League in just a year! True, but we also have to consider these three factors – Time, Team and Environment.
TIME – AVB started his coaching career at 21 when he had a brief stint at British Virgin Islands. He had the privilege of meeting Sir Bobby Robson and Mourinho (at Chelsea), on his road to being a successful coach. At Académica in 2009, AVB was able to take the team from the bottom of the league to 11th and also took the team to the Portuguese League Cup semi-finals, losing to Porto. At Porto in 2010, he won his first trophy when Porto beat Benfica 2-0 in the Portuguese Supercup. He went on to win three more titles: the Portuguese Primera Liga, the Portuguese Cup and the UEFA Europa League, thereby, becoming the youngest manager ever to win a European competition, at the age of 33 years and 213 days.
Don’t get bored, never mind those trivialities, but they stand as a fact that shows that the success he had at Porto in just a year, was long coming. The combination of coaching training he had from different academies plus the personal intuition and philosophy he must have adopted in his plans for years, definitely served as the accumulated elements that accounted for his success in that lone year at Porto.
TEAM – Chelsea cannot be graded in the same class as Porto. The high level of investment, the history and success of the Club, the quality of players in the team, the standard of competition they engage in plus the expectation(s) and pressure from fans, make Chelsea’s job a more daunting task for AVB than Porto was.
ENVIRONMENT – The environment we live in is one facet of life that is so unpredictable. So also is the nature of the EPL. You could never predict which team would win a game or how it would be won. Teams from the lower league work for each other to get into the Premier League. Hence, the relegation battle, which is as exciting as the climax to the trophy battle.
Such is the critical situation AVB has found himself, and after 12 league matches, 4 has been lost already with only 2 clean sheets kept. The Champions League, already, is proving to be a different kettle of fish for the new coach. That vital loss against Bayer Leverkusen has, by all means, heaped more steam on him and must win the last game against Valencia to ensure qualification. The team must also defeat Liverpool in the Carling Cup to advance to the next stage.
All these maladies show that the climate in which AVB has found himself plays a vital role in his dilemma. Although, these really shouldn’t be an excuse but they stand as a fact that adjustment and time is needed for progress.
However, the present predicament does not, in anyway, diminish the credit of the young manager. In fact, we are already witnessing a new Chelsea team driven by a passion to play an attacking style of football, unfortunately, to the detriment of the shaky defence that has been conceding needless goals which, obviously, is troubling the team, the coach and the fans.
All AVB needs to do is to find a way to plug that leaky defence and also find a way to drive the attackers to their very best and we could be set for a thrill. This might take time, probably years to fully work out but it is a step and a sacrifice worth taking. I Trust AVB!
By Aramide Salako
Follow @aramyde08 on twitter
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