Chelsea's new boss sets focus on trophy cabinet
Andre Villas-Boas has boldly expressed his confidence of meeting the vast expectations of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, but admitted that, should he fail, he will be treated as decisively as his predecessors.
Chelsea confirmed the appointment of Villas-Boas as their new manager yesterday morning and immediately outlined their belief that Villas-Boas would lead them to "greater success in major domestic and European competitions." With Chelsea having already won eight trophies, including three Premier League titles, under Abramovich, the expectation for Champions League glory is clear.
Villas-Boas, though, appears unfazed and, in what certainly felt like a departure from the approach of former mentor Jose Mourinho, he stressed that football was "not a one-man show."
"It is a massive individual challenge which I felt I should take," he said. "It is a big, big step, I am confident that I can respond to Chelsea's expectations and we can focus on the four trophies that we have to win. I am pretty much confident that people will like it. This is a new leadership, a new communication, a new way of being.
"Chelsea is a club that in the last six years has achieved so much and people are expecting us to do the same. There is not going to be more or less tolerance for me if I'm not successful."
Having spent seven years as a scout for Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, comparisons between Villas-Boas and the self-styled 'Special One' are inevitable.
They stopped speaking while Villas-Boas was leading Porto to a quadruple of trophies last season and are now likely to find themselves in direct competition for the Porto striker Falcao.
Mourinho's Real Madrid are interested in the Columbia international, who has a release clause of £27m and is expected to be the first transfer target of Villas-Boas. Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho is another potential signing for Villas-Boas, although his release clause is even higher at £36m.
There were also reports in Spain last night that Madrid were close to completing the signing of Neymar, a player who has been tracked by Chelsea for some time.
Villas-Boas stressed that he would take his time in making decisions about the Chelsea squad. "I want to keep things calm and steady," he said. "It is something that is normal to have a look into the market.
"It is also normal to respect the things that we have and the quality of the players.
"A lot of players will come back in July and I want to see them get back together and feel their motivations, their expectations.
"In the end it's about making better decisions for the squad and for the club.
"So, no radical changes."
He described the past few days as a "bombshell" and again played down comparisons with Mourinho. "I didn't take the Porto job nor the Chelsea job because Jose made the same steps," he said.
"They are two of the most sought-after clubs in the world. The seven years I spent with Jose were years with a profound relationship and professionalism.
"When you are compared to such an important manager like Jose, it's something that gives you even more responsibility. People know what to expect from me, they can expect to win trophies and I want to continue winning."
From his Porto staff, Villas-Boas is expected to bring fitness coach Jose Mario Rocha and Daniel Sousa, the scout who currently compiles the opposition dossiers that he made his speciality at Chelsea.
At just 33, Villas-Boas admits that it is difficult to comprehend his progression from being Mourinho's scout to Chelsea manager in the space of less than two years. "It is something that went crazy," he said. "There is no hiding from that, the manager is young but for you to get experience you have to access that experience.
"I'm a firm believer that motivation is the most decisive rule in football. We like attacking football and creative football but above all we like players to take the responsibility of assuming certain types of decisions.
"This is not a one-man show, this is a common game of ideas. This is the most important thing in football in the modern era, you cannot resume it to one person. I want to feel everybody together in this project and continue with the magnificent work Carlo (Ancelotti) left us behind. Don't expect something from one man.
"Chelsea appointed me basically for human qualities and that is what I want to bring into this club again.
"The most important thing is to motivate the players to get their ambitions right, to reflect again on what the club has achieved in the last six years and we need to keep this route to success.
"We are a technical staff that focuses a lot on unlocking potential. We are a technical staff that incentivises a lot of freedom of choice because in the end, when the players are on the pitch, they face different situations that they have to solve without the help of their manager.
"This is the kind of stimulus that we want the players to have, responsibility and making decisions, because in the end the game is decided by them on the pitch.
"It is a clashing together of two good organisations and in the end it is the relationship between all of our players that can lead us to success, and that is what I want to work on."
In their statement to announce Villas-Boas' appointment on a three-year contract, Chelsea also appeared to make a pointed reference to suggestions that Guus Hiddink had been their first choice to replace Ancelotti.
"Andre was the outstanding candidate for the job," said the statement. "He is one of the most talented young managers in football today and has already achieved much in a relatively short space of time.
"His ambition, drive and determination matches that of Chelsea and we are confident Andre's leadership of the team will result in greater successes in major domestic and European competitions." (© Daily Telegraph, London)