'Quitter' Roman Abramovich ruined our Chelsea project, says Andre Villas-Boas

 

Andre Villas-Boas yesterday claimed Roman Abramovich "quit" on him when he was sacked by Chelsea in March. The 34-year-old is now back in the game as Tottenham Hotspur's new manager, the replacement for Harry Redknapp.

Villas-Boas knows he will have to work hard to dispel the idea he was a failure at Chelsea. He lasted less than nine months there, the victim of poor results and player power, and Chelsea went on to win the Champions League and the FA Cup without him. But he was adamant that Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, had acted dishonourably by discarding him so quickly.

"It is all very well that you cut the project short and Chelsea go on to win two trophies and then say how wonderful the squad was, but at the beginning nobody believed in that squad when we put it together," Villas-Boas said. "What I am saying is that I respect the decision of the owner of Chelsea but I will never accept it.

"I told him that for me it was him quitting on me when he had been so much involved in the beginning in bringing me in and he was the one who also was not putting up to the things he promised. For Chelsea to have won the Champions League and to have won the Cup was because we were still in those competitions."

Villas-Boas is not the first manager to be dismissed by Abramovich with little warning, with Jose Mourinho discarded in 2007 and Carlo Ancelotti fired despite having achieved a Premier League title and FA Cup Double in his first season. Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, the latter a World Cup winner with Brazil, were also given short shrift.

Tottenham fans, understandably, will care little of the politics of Stamford Bridge. Their pressing concern centres upon whether a relatively inexperienced coach who never played at a high level can avoid repeating mistakes made at Chelsea. Villas-Boas believed that was the case.

"It was a tremendous learning experience, to be fair – you have to admit it," he said. "I am grateful to have gone through it because it makes me a better coach and a better person. I understand now certain things can be done better and, in the end, you evolve in different ways. Hopefully, I can apply the different things I have learnt."

Redknapp was dismissed last month despite having led Tottenham to fourth place last season, although Chelsea's Champions League triumph under Roberto Di Matteo meant that was worth only a place in next season's Europa League.

Top priority for Spurs is an assault on the Premier League title and Villas-Boas told his players exactly that within minutes of meeting them. Tottenham had shown signs last season that this was a possibility but Redknapp talked down their chances as often as he talked them up.

That was something Villas-Boas had certainly noticed. "It's very well to promote yourself to the title and to quit the week after. Not that this is a criticism but this is something, if we really want to go for it, this is something that we have to assume from the start. It's a proposition I have put to the players on the first day that we met. We have to see, of course, whether it's realistic or not.

"Other squads are evolving and you can't always compete with Chelsea and Manchester City for players. But we would like to assume this responsibility, not to put more pressure on ourselves but because it goes along with what we are trying to build."

Villas-Boas has made the signing of an experienced forward a priority but described negotiations to make Emmanuel Adebayor's loan move from City permanent as "just a remote possibility at the moment".

The former Spurs midfielder Steffen Freund was yesterday named as the club's new assistant head coach.

First impressions: AVB's opening words

At Chelsea, 22 June 2011...

"When a manager comes, all radical changes are expected."

"I am just one gear in this big club."

"They can expect to win trophies and I want to continue winning."

... and at Spurs, yesterday

"We have to try and put Tottenham on the road to titles."

"We just have to continue with the quality work that Harry left us."

"Now we just have to bridge the gap towards success."

News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
News
Youngsters around the country living it up in des-res two-storey garden mansions with a balcony
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Extras
indybest
Life & Style
tech
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal