Andre Villas-Boas plays it cool as Romelu Lukaku looks for revenge
Saturday 25 August 2012
When Andre Villas-Boas studies the West Bromwich Albion team sheet today, he will be only too aware that there is one player itching to prove a point to him. Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian was Villas-Boas' first signing as Chelsea manager a year ago but despite the £18m price tag, Lukaku only made six Premier League appearances. The Portuguese's decision to favour Spain striker Fernando Torres and club legend Didier Drogba riled Lukaku to the point that he launched a stinging attack, saying he would "never forgive" the sacked coach for ostracising him at Stamford Bridge.
Now, though, the pair are at new clubs – Lukaku on loan at West Brom, Villas-Boas at Spurs – and they meet today after differing starts to the campaign. Nineteen-year-old Lu made a scoring start to life at The Hawthorns, while the man who snubbed him was beaten at Newcastle.
Villas-Boas appears to hold no grudge towards Lukaku for his outburst and says he has no regrets over how the forward was handled during his tenure.
"The decision that Lukaku departed [on loan] was not mine so I have nothing to say about it," said Villas-Boas.
"The player is obviously a player with tremendous talent that competed last year against two of the world's best players.
"Lukaku had frustrations last year that you can understand. It's up to him to compete and when you compete against Fernando Torres and Didier...
"We played last year with one striker and for Lukaku to have more playing time – which he would have been entitled to if I felt it was the right decision to do – but to compete with two of the world's best and the record of either two speaks for themselves.
"I think he is ready for the Premier League. I think he is, it's just that he didn't have enough time last year.
"Had he overtaken those two to be on team selection every weekend it would have been a tremendous achievement for a 19-year-old."
Latest in Sport
Guus Hiddink leaves Netherlands: Louis van Gaal's replacement resigns less than a year after taking Dutch job
Sergio Ramos to Manchester United: Real Madrid defender 'wants' Old Trafford switch
Petr Cech joins Arsenal: key dates for the goalkeeper after Chelsea move - including Stamford Bridge return on 19 September
Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray tests himself with practice games against Rafael Nadal
Arsenal sign Petr Cech: Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey - and even Wojciech Szczesny welcome goalkeeper
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato