Monday 29 December 2014

Villas-Boas takes over the reins at Zenit in €17m deal

Published 19/03/2014 | 02:30

Andre Villas-Boas
Andre Villas-Boas

Former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas will take over Russian side Zenit St Petersburg this week after agreeing a two-season contract.

The Portuguese will replace Luciano Spalletti, who was sacked earlier this month.

Caretaker coach Sergey Semak will be in charge of the team tonight for their Champions League last-16 match at Borussia Dortmund, which they trail 4-2 from the first leg.

"Zenit has agreed terms on a contract with new head coach Andre Villas-Boas," the club said in a statement.

"The contract will be signed and Mr Villas-Boas will be presented in St Petersburg as Zenit's new head coach on March 20. Mr Villas-Boas's contract begins in March, 2014 and is valid for two seasons."

The 36-year-old, who was sacked by English Premier League club Tottenham in December, will earn €8.5m per season, Russia's R-Sport reported, which would make him one of the highest paid soccer managers in the world.

Zenit managed just one win in the Champions League group stage but finished runners-up in their section and became the first team ever to reach the knockout stages with six points.

"I think we need a breath of fresh air within the team," Zenit's Belgium defender Nicolas Lombaerts told a news conference ahead of tonight's game at Dortmund.

"Villas-Boas is a good coach, who has won the Europa League. We have the same experience, so hopefully together we will be able to reach new heights.

"I am sure that in terms of tactics and his man management skills Villas-Boas is a good man, therefore I am really counting on us reaching our goals."

Villas-Boas became the youngest coach to win a UEFA competition when Porto lifted the Europa League in 2011, two years after Zenit won its predecessor, the UEFA Cup, to complete a treble that included the domestic league and cup.

He joined Chelsea on the back of that success when the London club paid £13.3m to trigger his escape clause, but Villas-Boas did not last the season. He was given a second chance in English football by Spurs in 2012, but was sacked last December after a humiliating 5-0 home loss to Liverpool soon after a 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City.

Villas-Boas will bump into some familiar faces at Zenit. Brazilian forward Hulk played under him at Porto and defender Luis Neto and midfielder Danny are Portugal internationals.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND V ZENIT ST P'BURG,

LIVE, SKY SPORTS 4/SETANTA IRL, 7.45

Irish Independent

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