Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas claims ‘invisible’ Chelsea play without style

Spurs manager critical of former club putting success above all on eve of key game in Champions League race

Andre Villas-Boas has suggested that Chelsea chose success over developing a distinctive style when they sacked him in March last year, as the Tottenham Hotspur manager prepares to return to Stamford Bridge tomorrow night for a critical league game against his former club.

The 35-year-old was dismissed by Chelsea after a run of three wins in 12 league games, a decision that he said in the summer he considered to be a loss of nerve on the part of the club’s owner, Roman Abramovich. Yesterday he went further, saying that Chelsea had chosen to abandon his plans to change the team and that a club without a style would ultimately make them “invisible in football”.

Asked whether Chelsea continued to be in a state of confusion over which path to take in developing a playing style, Villas-Boas said: “It’s a little bit unfair for me to say that. In the end, it’s brought them success and sometimes success is what matters in football – independent of the style.

 “I have a different opinion [to them]. I think if you don’t have a style, it makes you invisible in football. Only teams with style succeed. But in the end, success normally is what matters in modern Europe.”

Asked to describe the style of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, a period during which Villas-Boas was the club’s opposition scout, the Spurs manager said they were “an absolutely deadly machine of football – but in a different way. Great, great counter-attacking football,” he added, “and one of the great teams in the country. There are various types of teams; teams built along great creative players and this Chelsea team has the ingredients to be able to play this type of football.”

Realistically, Spurs must beat third-placed Chelsea to stand a chance of finishing in the Champions League qualifying places. A win for Chelsea would as good as guarantee them a spot next season.

Villas-Boas was tasked with changing Chelsea's style from the Mourinho era into something resembling Barcelona when he succeeded Carlo Ancelotti in 2011. Asked about the difficulty of making changes to a team's style, Villas-Boas said it was “very, very difficult. Probably Barcelona with [Pep] Guardiola is the best team for playing football in recent years, in my opinion.”

There was, for the first time, an acknowledgement from Villas-Boas that he did not have the support of certain senior players during his nine months at Chelsea. He was asked whether it was right that Frank Lampard, whom he left out the team regularly, had been one of those. “Yeah, but his ability and quality was never in doubt,” Villas-Boas said.

“But that does not really matter right now. There have been other managers in this position before and in the end you study what you have done and become better and adapt. Only by learning from experiences are you able to deal with them better the next time.”

Rafa Benitez, at his press conference, dropped the biggest hint yet that Jose Mourinho would return to Chelsea this summer. “You know that next year there will be another manager,” he said. “That is clear. I think everybody knows who will be here. I will just concentrate on my job now.”

Asked later whether he would speak to his successor, Benitez replied: “Good question. You think that he will ask me? That's something you have to ask to the new manager.”

Earlier, John Terry had said that he often exchanged texts with Mourinho and had done so after his former manager had issued his plea to return to English football in the aftermath of Real Madrid's Champions League elimination. Terry said: “It is difficult to go into but the fans have shown he is a man they love, above all for what he won, and for pushing the club in a direction it had never gone in before. He is still the Special One.”

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam