independent

Friday 18 April 2014

AVB: Mourinho will be a magnet for attention

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Picture: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Picture: REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

English Premier League fans should expect new Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho to attract a lot of attention next season, Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas said.

In an interview published in Monday's edition of Portuguese sports daily O Jogo, Villas-Boas said his compatriot's return will vastly improve the visibility of the Premier League.

"It won't be possible to take your eyes away from Mourinho," he said.

"One of his characteristics, and I don't say it in a negative way, is to deviate attentions, positive and negative, in such a way that the team is only worried about winning."

Villas-Boas said he is intrigued by next season's Premier League race which will feature Mourinho and also have David Moyes as Manchester United's new coach, following the departure of Alex Ferguson after 26 years at the club.

"These are two deep changes to English football...it will be interesting," he said in an interview while on holiday in Porto before competing in a celebrity car race.

"The fear that came from playing Alex Ferguson's sides made everything harder and that may still continue if (Moyes's) adaptation is fast. That is something I am curious to see".

Villas-Boas's Tottenham amassed a club record points total  last season but were still disappointed as they finished fifth, just outside the Champions League places but enough for a Europa League spot.

The Portuguese said he has evolved since an unhappy spell at Chelsea ended after just a few months in the job in March 2012.

He said he learned what is needed to succeed in the Premier League the hard way.

"The Premier League is guided by this dynamic: ball lost - ball recovered - ball lost again. That makes matches unpredictable, teams must be objective and behave like that because that's what excites fans.

"The aesthetics of the game come second to unpredictability, which is much more exciting than the predictability associated with possession football," he said, giving the example of Spanish club Barcelona.

Demand in England for this fast-breaking football style contributed to his downfall at Chelsea, Villas-Boas said.

"We were a counter-culture team, constructing play from the goalkeeper onwards.

"I should have had respected that (England's) culture from the start. I thought it was possible to establish a different game pattern in a country with a radically different culture.

"I respect it now. I have become more versatile after the Chelsea experience."

He said clubs like Swansea and Wigan were exceptions to this obsession with high-tempo counter-attack football but they were only able to play differently because they were put under less pressure.

Villas-Boas likened his failed attempt to change Chelsea's style of play to the challenge Bayern Munich's new coach Pep Guardiola will face next season. The Spaniard was unveiled at the Bundesliga club on Monday.

Villas-Boas said Bayern Munich were another team he was  curious to see next season.

"His (Guardiola's) challenge is to transport his (possession football) paradigm to another culture," he said. "It's like what I tried to do at Chelsea: it's counter cultural."

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