By Tom Finn
In an article published this morning in the Daily Telegraph former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Andres Villas Boas claims it was the attitude of Russian billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich that cost him his job at Stamford Bridge as he was never present being too distracted fighting a high-profile court case.
The now Zenit St Petersburg manager spent only eight months at Stamford Bridge before being sacked after a run of poor results.
The sacking was the first major setback of AVB’s career after having been hired following a very successful spell at Porto where he led them to achieve an undefeated season in the Primeira Liga and also to win the Europa Cup.
At the time of his sacking the general consensus was that he had lost the support of the players, but when interviewed by Portuguese television he claims the main reason he struggled was because of Roman Abramovich’s attitude as the Russian billionaire was consumed with the biggest private case in British legal history with his former mentor and fellow Russian Boris Berezovsky.
Villas-Boas said: “Of course we never know what will happen and what I found at Chelsea was not what I wanted.
“I arrived at a difficult time in the private life of the chairman, who was rarely present. This clearly had an effect. Then I was surprised and I am still surprised that the chairman’s intentions changed. When I went there the idea was to rebuild the team.”
As for his failings at Tottenham, he claims the club failed to sign any of the players he asked for after having sold Luka Modric to Real Madrid.
He said: “Tottenham set a points and victories record in my first season, and missed out on the Champions League by one point and had a great run in the Europa League. In the second season, at the time I left we had more points than in the previous season.
“I ended up leaving by mutual agreement – it wasn’t a sacking – because I gave full support to the football director Franco Baldini who meanwhile had other ambitions, meaning that I ended up with players that did not fit the profile I wanted.
“The chairman proposed a challenge to increase Tottenham’s competitive level, but immediately Modric left and we didn’t get any of the targets I had identified, such as João Moutinho, Willian, Óscar or Leandro Damião. These were promises that were not kept. I had a group of players I had not chosen.”
AVB also mentions that he was approached by Liverpool prior to them hiring Brendan Rodgers and for the moment at least he has no desire to return to England and the Premiership.
He added: “Returning to England is definitely not in my plans. I had talks with Liverpool; a club I admire a lot, but like I said it’s not in my plans, although life takes many turns. I liked coaching in England, it was a positive experience, but negative things also happened.”