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Premier League

Villas-Boas pledges to support players

Andre Villas-Boas maintains his door will always be open to his new Chelsea squad - and not just for football matters.

The Portuguese coach may be only 33, but has capped a remarkable rise from the backroom staff at Stamford Bridge under former Blues boss Jose Mourinho to the top job when appointed successor to Carlo Ancelotti.

Villas-Boas never made his mark as a player, but his comprehensive approach certainly proved a big hit at Porto, whom he guided to a domestic double and Europa League success last season before filling the vacancy in west London after a 15million euro release clause in his contract was paid off.

Meeting the high demands of owner Roman Abramovich, who craves the Champions League trophy more than any other, is certainly a daunting challenge ahead for the youngest manager in the English top flight.

However, Villas-Boas knows in the modern game, it is more than just harmony on the field which will prove key to sustained success.

"We are very open-minded, we are open to them, to their problems and not only the problems they face on the pitch but their problems that they face in their day-to-day life," Villas-Boas told Chelsea TV.

"We are not just managers of the game, we are people who understand the person as a whole. This is something that we feel can have a good impact."

Just as Mourinho did when he arrived from Porto in 2004, Villas-Boas is expected to raid his former club for a couple of top performers, like Colombia striker Radamel Falcao and midfielder Joao Moutinho.

However, the new Blues manager insists it is very much a case of evolution, not revolution at Stamford Bridge - with Ancelotti having completed an historic league and FA Cup double just 12 months before his unceremonious dismissal.

"The tremendous success that Carlo had here, the magnificent two years he spent here, we want to build on from that," said Villas-Boas.

"Carlo has left for this club some important things and we want to continue building from where he left. There will be no big radical impact or big radical rupture.

"I want to feel everybody together in this project and continue with the magnificent work Carlo left behind.

"The natural progression for this club is to keep winning and that's what I want to do."

He added: "This is a new leadership, a new communication, a new way of being, but I think in the end it all ends up in the motivation everyone must feel to continue to win for the club.

"It is good to be back at a club where I know the people around and hopefully we can start the season with a tremendous impact with staff, players and this new empathy that I want to bring."

While Villas-Boas will be no stranger to senior Chelsea players like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, there have been suggestions the Portuguese coach could struggle to command respect in the dressing room, given his age, lack of success as a player and relative inexperience.

However, former Chelsea boss Avram Grant does not feel that will not be a long-term issue.

Grant - who was director of football at Chelsea before taking over from Mourinho in September 2007, guiding the team to the Champions League final - is confident the young coach has the personality to take Chelsea forwards.

"He is a very nice guy, is intelligent, a nice person and I enjoyed being with him, even if it was for only a short time," Grant told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Does he have the experience? No. But the authority? Time will say. I think yes.

"When I saw Porto and how the players behaved towards him, the players liked him and he had authority, so he can do it also here.

"At the end of the day, players are human beings and if they see that he has the quality to take them forwards, they will respect him."