The new Chelsea manager, Andre Villas-Boas, yesterday began his Stamford Bridge reign in markedly different style to his mentor and predecessor Jose Mourinho. "I don't see the game as a one-man show," he said.
The 33-year-old former Porto coach promised "new leadership" and emphasised the importance of unifying the club, in what would appear to be a calculated attempt to distance himself from the egotistical Mourinho, who began his Chelsea career by delivering the famous line: "Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a Special One."
Villas-Boas does not speak with Mourinho any more, after the apprentice walked out of Internazionale to start his own managerial career in Portugal in 2009, and has been at pains to stake out his own case, while at the same time hailing his former mentor as the "best manager in the world."
In contrast to the bombastic style of Mourinho, he attempted to play down the significance of his arrival at Chelsea. Villas-Boas, who becomes the seventh manager to work under owner Roman Abramovich, said: "Don't expect something from one man. Expect us to create a group dynamic with the fans getting together, with people getting excited with the motivation that is around us. In the new way of communicating and the new leadership – this is the most important thing. It is about the continuous success of this club.
"The main important thing that people have to reflect on is that I don't see the game as a one-man show, I see the game as the getting together of ideas and good players."
Not the Special One then, but certainly the Chosen One, after Abramovich stumped up the £13.3m to Porto to release him. Villas-Boas has first-hand experience of the high standards demanded by the Russian, having been part of Mourinho's entourage of assistants who were dismissed in September 2007 after the club failed to win the Premier League or Champions League the previous season.
He said yesterday he accepts the responsibility for leading Chelsea to trophies. "Chelsea is a club that in the last six years has achieved so much," he said. "There is not going to be more or less tolerance for me if I am not successful. I feel confident that we can motivate everybody and that I can respond to the ambitions of the supporters and the owner and the administration."Reuse content