Villas-Boas passes his oral interview...

29 June 2011 11:26
.but the practical will be very hard Andre Villas-Boas’s unveiling to the media today was the equivalent of him attending an interview for a new job – with the media in attendance to grill him for suitability - he did well in the oral test, next will come the practical and that’s going to be much more difficult. The pride of the British press gave the rookie manager such an easy time – but this was to be expected – hey, he name-checked each journalist who asked him a question. That may be rule one with journos who, to be fair to them, are wise to such obvious tactics, but they enjoyed it nevertheless. Very few people know that much about Villas-Boas the man, the manager. Even those Chelsea-watchers of long-standing can’t really say he made much of a stand-out impression at SW6 during Jose Mourinho reign. Was he the guy who started the argy-bargy with Frank Rijkaard during one of Chelsea’s battles with Barcelona?  Yeah, you see what I mean? So back to the interview, sorry, media briefing. Well firstly the whole deal was conducted in English – a bit of a PR own goal that. The Portugal media were most put out, one suggesting that it was an insult to them. Back in his native Porto, Villas-Boas is considered a traitor for leaving them – after he bought himself out of his get-out clause and then waited for the “expected interest” to come calling – Chelsea did – last Monday week according to Villas-Boas. But Chelsea’s media arm are not too bothered by that but it might cause a bit of friction later in the season if Chelsea are drawn against Porto in the Champions League– something Villas-Boas firmly expects. Porto fans are not happy that their favoured son took the money and ran – even against the advice of his own family who wanted to stay at home for once. After many years in the UK and Italy. So with this in mind – we have a man driven by ambition and the rewards that come with it. Nothing wrong in that in itself – but we also have a man who twice spoke during the ‘interview’ about how important it was that footballers behave like proper “social role-models”. What sort of message is that to send to players – old and young-alike – grab the money, call it realising a personal challenge and forget what your family thinks about it. He wants to be inclusive – he wants the players to come on board, he wants the Chelsea staff to follow his lead – heck he wants even the fans, to Pied Piper like- follow him to a new Chelsea dawn. So interview-wise did he make any gaffs – well he almost wrote the back page headline for every red-top tabloid by suggesting that John Terry might not for actually be an automatic choice for captaincy. It was much to the anger, albeit muted anger of the daily journos who saw their story evaporate that Villas-Boas was given the chance to clarify the captaincy position. He said: John Terry is captain of the club, as is Lamps and Didier. There are more leaders in the team. So long as he [JT] is challenging for a place in the team he is the captain. Then he reverted to interview-speak: “We have to be fair in the decision-making and to challenge the players to perform. He is clear in the fact that if he is unsuccessful – i.e. does not win, then he will be sacked. But that should not be a surprise to anyone who takes the poison chalice of managing Chelsea. He said of the comings and goings of players: “I don’t see why the manager should not be in control of transfers. “No players will be imposed. We need to go one small step to be successful and we are able to move for the best players when we need to”. I’m not sure what chief executive Ron Gourlay, who was sitting next to me, made of that. Or “The Boss” Villas-Boas’s affectionate term for Roman Abramovich for that matter. Villas-Boas was on message when it came to the current squad and would be given their chance [to prove themselves – yes seriously] when they returned to pre-season training on July 8. “The transfer window is open until August 31,” he said to the media – but he was really talking to the players, sunning themselves on the beach. “We will make wise decisions, we have the purchasing power to bring any player into the club,” Again, sending out a message to the players ‘Do it my way or you are history’ Again, like in a job interview he talked a bit about himself and what he will bring to Chelsea: We are open-minded and young {of his technical staff]. This is what we want to sell to the players for us to be successful. And that is the $64,000 question – will he be successful? Villas-Boas passed the interview stage, he wobbled a bit confusing “nutmeg” for “cogs” but was more than self-assured. He is aware that overconfidence can “lead to mistakes”. He has “no problem” with a director of football coming in – that man is expected to be the now ex-first team assistant coach Michael Emenalo [A mate of the ‘Boss’, so unlike Paul Clement who was sacked he stays to keep an eye on things.] Was that naivety coming through, he said: “A director or technical director of football is not there to disrupt the manager but to help." I did not know what to do when he said that - laugh, cry or tell him I have a shoulder he can cry on. What do you make of Villas-Boas? Have your say in the messageboard now.


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