Andre Villas-Boas plays down link to Chelsea
The calls for Andre Villas-Boas to replace Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti will increase if he leads Porto to victory in tonight's Europa League final, but the 33-year-old insisted yesterday that he is not seeking a move from the Portuguese champions.
A remarkable first year in charge of Porto has led the rookie manager to the brink of winning four trophies in his first full term in management.
Porto plucked Villas-Boas from Academica Coimbra to replace the hugely-experienced Jesualdo Ferreira at the end of last season and he has not disappointed, claiming the Portuguese Super Cup before winning the league unbeaten with five games to spare.
Villas-Boas will get his hands on his third piece of silverware with victory over Braga in tonight's Europa League final in Dublin before having the chance to add a fourth with this weekend's Portuguese Cup final.
Chelsea are reportedly monitoring the progress of a man who previously worked alongside Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, with Ancelotti seemingly heading for an exit after a disappointing trophyless season.
But Villas-Boas insists he wants to try and emulate Mourinho's achievement of making Porto a force to be reckoned with in the Champions League next season, rather than leave for pastures new.
"I am very happy at Porto. It's the city where I grew up. It's my home club and I don't see it easy to leave it," Villas-Boas said.
"We are focused on winning the Europa League and next year we will go into the Champions League.
"You cannot say that by reaching the final in the Europa League you will win the Champions League the next year (like Mourinho did). It's not that straightforward.
"Next year we hope to get through the group stage, then maybe the quarter-final or further. Let's dream a little bit more."
Among the many subplots to tonight's encounter is the fact that Villas-Boas got his big break in football thanks to his admiration for current Braga coach Domingos Paciencia.
When Paciencia was not playing regularly under former Porto boss Sir Bobby Robson in the 90s, the teenage Villas-Boas wrote a letter to the Englishman, urging him to play the then striker more often.
Robson requested information to back up his request and Villas-Boas promptly delivered an impressive dossier that prompted the former England boss to send the youngster on several coaching courses in the United Kingdom.
After earning his coaching badges, Villas-Boas then went on to form part of Mourinho's scouting team at Porto, Chelsea and then Inter Milan.
Paciencia remembers the story that brought Villas-Boas into management fondly and recalled his time at Porto with a beaming smile at yesterday's press conference in the Irish capital.
He insists, however, he is now happy to have carved out a managerial career of his own away from Porto at the relatively young age of 42.
"People always relate me to Porto. They always thought that because I had a long time playing at the club that I would be with the club forever but what I am proving now with Braga is that I can do things with a team that isn't Porto," said Paciencia, who will leave Braga after tonight's game.
"I am always professional and SC Braga is the club I represent and the club I want to win in the final."
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