Although we're now one match into the Andre-Villas-Boas-isn't-here-anymore era, there's still plenty to be said about the manager's firing. One player we hadn't heard from yet is Alex, who was banished from the first team (and ultimately to Paris Saint-Germain). You might have expected that the centre back wouldn't have very nice things to say about a man who threw him out of the airlock at Chelsea, but he's actually fairly generous. Long quote after the jump...
It is always: when the results do not show up, the one who pays is the coach. But Andre is a coach with great quality, as I saw day to day in how he worked on every single detail. At Chelsea it had already happened several times, the exit of a manager in the middle of the season. It is a big club, where there is enormous pressure to win the Champions League. You can not say that this pressure affects the players every day, but perhaps it affects the work of coaches. And do not forget that the Champions League is a competition that is difficult to win.
This situation was being about talked for a while, even because of André's behaviour. Andre is not the kind of person who talks a lot, he's someone who a bit closed. That's just the way he is. I saw some comments of Lampard recently and I think he deserved more respect. It is true that a player knows he will sometimes have to stay on the bench, especially after reaching a certain age. That's not a problem. But with Lampard's history at the club, where he has more than 10 years, he deserves a word or an explanation from the manager. Fundamentally, it was a question of respect for everything that he represents for Chelsea.
I think it makes little sense to say that there was a hard core who did not want Andre to continue. If you look carefully, Terry and Ashley Cole always played, Drogba and even Fernando [Torres] had lots of opportunities. We, the players, often have a habit when things go wrong of blaming the coach. But that's not true. Sometimes things don't go well for the team due to little details, like a lack of luck, or poor form from some of us. In the end it was good I had a problem there because I came to a great club and city.
-Source: Duncan Castles' Twitter timeline.
The Frank Lampard comments are nothing particularly new but fascinating regardless. Why Villas-Boas didn't simply sit down with Lampard and explain to situation remains a complete mystery to me - I simply don't see the motivation for ignoring what the man's done for the cub over the past decade.
In general, however, it's refreshing to see a player acknowledge that things were going wrong and Villas-Boas was getting scapegoated for it. That doesn't make the firing wrong, of course, because when the players are blaming the coach for poor performances, the whole club is screwed, but it does put things in an interesting new perspective. So thanks to Mr. Castles for relaying some thoughtful opinions from someone actually qualified to have them.