Villas-Boas used a similar tactic after taking charge of Porto a year ago, making his squad watch a video of Benfica's championship party.
And the new Chelsea boss would not rule out something similar when the Blues players report back for pre-season training on Wednesday.
"We just need, as technical staff, to make the right moves," Villas-Boas said during his official unveiling as manager on Wednesday.
"Maybe a United photo, an Arsenal photo, to show they've been successful."
Villas-Boas admitted United were the benchmark and urged Chelsea to reclaim the mantle they held under Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.
"United are a reference - they're pretty clear," he said. "A big, successful club, as this club was when Jose, Carlo and Guus were here. That's the challenge we face next season.
"If we are going to provoke them in that way, that's for our technical staff to decide."
As well as motivating from the outside, Villas-Boas will need his players to motivate each other, and he sees captain John Terry as integral to that aim.
Terry has been accused in the past of being too strong an influence but Villas-Boas said: "Most of the players in the dressing room see John as a leader and a player who motivates them.
"There are lots of leaders in the dressing room. If John is in the team, he will be the captain.
"He represents the history of this club, the successful history of this club in the last six or seven years."
One player who is also part of the club's history - if only for being their most expensive ever player - is Fernando Torres.
Torres became a £50million misfit last season after moving to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool, the Spain striker netting just once for his new club in almost four months.
Then manager Carlo Ancelotti tried everything he could to get Torres scoring but it seemed Chelsea did not play to the 27-year-old's strengths.
That appeared certain to change next season but Villas-Boas does not believe in building the team around one man, having faced the same problem with Falcao while at Porto.
"He was a striker who didn't find the back of the net in pre-season and was frustrated," Villas-Boas said.
"We didn't tune the team to provide to him. We tuned the team as a whole.
"Once we did that, he scored 30 goals.
"It's about fine-tuning the team, not the player. The quality is amazing at every player at Chelsea. We have to fine tune the whole organisation of the team."