Saturday 16 December 2017

Villas-Boas blast reopens feud with Abramovich

Gerry Cox

Andre Villas-Boas has wasted no time in inflaming the rivalry between Tottenham and Chelsea and risking further alienation from Roman Abramovich with a stinging attack on the set-up at Stamford Bridge, comparing the Russian unfavourably with his new boss Daniel Levy and suggesting Spurs have a greater history and more potential than the west London club.

When he was introduced this week as Harry Redknapp's successor, Villas-Boas made it clear he felt let down and "cut short" by Abramovich, who sacked him in March, barely eight months into a three-year 'project' at Stamford Bridge.

And when asked why he felt it would be different at White Hart Lane, where he has also signed a three-year deal, the Portuguese manager went back on the attack, claiming the management style and structure at Spurs was more conducive to success. He also said he felt the club had a greater sense of belonging, a stronger tradition of attractive football, and were not looking for scapegoats, suggesting Abramovich and his board were less involved and less knowledgeable than Levy and Joe Lewis, the club's billionaire backer.

When asked if Tottenham is a better fit for him than Chelsea, he said: "There is more of a sense of belonging to a club. This is a club full of tradition, which I am still learning about and have to admire. Chelsea has its own tradition that has changed dramatically since it was bought in 2003, and there is a sense of belonging here at Spurs which I want to use in a different way. They are totally different clubs and propositions, with different ways of being."

He said that Levy was the main factor in his decision to join Tottenham. "He knows what he's doing, approaching the market in a different way, and is a person of great football understanding -- that had the effect of giving me the assurances I wanted."

This week, Jan Vertonghen revealed it was Levy's personal touch that persuaded the Belgian defender to leave Ajax for Tottenham, a move soon followed by Emmanuel Adebayor's full-time arrival for a bargain £6m. By contrast, Abramovich is famous for paying way over the odds for players who have not worked out, such as Andriy Shevchenko.

"I think with an owner that is involved on a daily basis at the football club, with his knowledge, that is the main difference," added Villas-Boas.

"They're not looking for certain scapegoats, and when so many people are striving forward, it makes your job easier. The thing is that what we were doing [at Chelsea] in terms of the project, words did not meet the actions, so I think I was cut short."

One player Villas-Boas appears to believe is essential to that pursuit of success is Rafael van der Vaart, who now appears likely to be staying at the club after earlier interest from Schalke and Hamburg cooled.

But he is resigned to losing Luka Modric, to Real Madrid. "We have to make sure the club's interests are met, and it's up to the chairman to decide that," he said.

Sunday Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport