The new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas yesterday began his Stamford Bridge reign in markedly different style to his mentor and predecessor Jose Mourinho, by stating in his first interview in charge: "This is not a one-man show."
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."
In contrast to the bombastic style of Mourinho, Villas-Boas sought to play down the significance of his arrival at Chelsea. The Portuguese, who becomes the seventh manager to work under Roman Abramovich, said: "Don't expect something from one man. Expect us to create a group dynamic of everybody getting together, with the fans getting together, with people getting excited with the motivation that is in and around us. In the new way of communicating and the new leadership – this is the most important thing. It is not about my arrival. 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 collective ideas and good players. This is not a one-man show."
Not the Special One then, but certainly the Chosen One, after Abramovich stumped up the £13.3m to Porto to release him from his contract and Villas-Boas admitted yesterday the last few days "happened like a bomb shell". The coach has first-hand experience of the high standards demanded by Abramovich, having been part of Mourinho's entourage of assistants who were dismissed in September 2007 after the club failed to win either the Champions League or the Premier League in the previous season.
He said yesterday he accepts the responsibility for leading Chelsea to major hounours, and the inevitable consequences of failure, as Carlo Ancelotti discovered to his cost a month ago when he was sacked on the final day of the season.
"Chelsea is a club that in the last six years has achieved so much and people are expecting us to be on the same way," he said. "There is not going to be more or less tolerance for me if I am not successful so this is the challenge I face."
Villas-Boas, who has signed a three-year deal on wages of £4.5m a year, will be the youngest manager in the Premier League next season but insisted it is not a problem.
"There is no hiding from that, the manager is young but for you to get experience you have to have access to that experience. And Chelsea has given me access at the top level of the Premiership, which is the most important league in the world. So we will have this open relationship and I think the players will like it," he said.
Villas-Boas accepted the comparisons with Mourinho, but insisted that was not the reason he has been appointed by Chelsea. He told Chelsea TV: "I think there is no way you can avoid comparison, it is something that is the interest of the media. I didn't take the Porto job nor the Chelsea job because Jose made the same steps.
"When you are compared to such an important winning manager like Jose, it's something that gives you even more responsibility, so I take it naturally, day-by-day. People know what to expect from me, they can expect to win trophies and I want to continue winning."
Chelsea's new manager is understood to want to bring striker Radamel Falcao and midfielder Joao Moutinho with him from Porto but he said he will not be rushing into the transfer market. "It is normal to have a look into the market, or for any club to look into the market, but it is also normal to respect the things that we have and the quality of the players that we have. For us to make better decisions, it is important for us to get to know people again," he said.
"[We need to] feel their motivations, their expectations, and make the better decisions. In the end it's about making better decisions for the squad and for the club. So, no radical changes, we need to absorb things, respect our winning past and try to focus on 2011-12 as a year where we can continue to win.
"Let's reflect on the success of the past six years at this club and what we have achieved and now what we can achieve in the next six years again. There is no doubt that the challenge for me is to keep winning. I am an individual who has that hunger for success and I want to keep it that way."Reuse content