Villas-Boas not fazed by Mourinho's long shadow
Published 03/03/2012 | 05:00
Jose Mourinho casts a long shadow at many clubs because he is the best coach in the world, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said yesterday as speculation about his own future continued.
Villas-Boas, who worked under his fellow Portuguese manager earlier in his career -- including a spell at Chelsea when Mourinho was coach there -- has endured a tough first season at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are fifth in the Premier League table and are facing elimination from the Champions League as they host Napoli, trailing 3-1 on Wednesday week.
The future of Mourinho has also been in the spotlight, despite his success with Real Madrid, with speculation he is set to replace his young compatriot back at the Bridge.
"The only place where Jose's shadow isn't lurking is in Barcelona," said Villas-Boas yesterday, ahead of today's clash with West Brom.
"His shadow is lurking everywhere else, in the rest of the world, over some of the best managers in the world.
"If you can trade a successful manager for the best manager in the world, well, everybody wants him.
"I think its normal, for the history he left in this football club.
"The most successful part of this club's history is related to Jose, so its normal."
Last week, Villas-Boas said in an interview with Portugal's TSF radio that he was unsure if he still had the backing of Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich, while senior player Frank Lampard has said his relationship with the manager was not ideal.
Villas-Boas has left Lampard out of the starting line-up a number of times this season, but yesterday said there was no rift between them.
The 34-year-old maintained that their relationship was "good, excellent", adding that they spoke and that "it's just a manager-player relationship in the end".
"Frank's words are genuine. They are genuine from a player that has a reflection of a relationship between us. For me, it's fine, I have no problems with it," he said.
"I have to choose the team and I try to choose the best team for every single game. It hasn't involved Frank a couple of times but it doesn't mean I have a personal problem with him.
"His own interpretation of the relationship is his own, but I have no problem with it and I explained it to him.
"They are decisions I have to take for the benefit of the team, always."