First up, I'm going to refer to him as Andre Villas-Boas from now on. I wasn't sure how he'd do his name in English beforehand, so I defaulted to the non-hyphenated version, which whoops.
Anyway, the first interview with the new manager aired today on Chelsea TV, and while I obviously can't embed it or transcribe the whole thing due to it being paid content, I did pick up some general impressions and what I think are some key points. Villas-Boas is a very, very well spoken young man - if you do have Chelsea TV the interview is well worth the watch. Let's dig in.
I think the most obvious takeaway from Villas-Boas' interview is how self-effacing he seems to be. This has come out before - there was a great quote where he described himself as 'the Shit One' while still with Porto - but here it was charming. Unlike Jose Mourinho (and yeah, there are going to be comparisons, he says. But he doesn't care) he didn't come in to talk about himself. Everything was we we we, which for a man of his talent is refreshing beyond belief. Mourinho ran his club based on a cult of personality. Villas-Boas is going down another route altogether. A less annoying route.
Villas-Boas also spoke about the plans for the club. There will be 'no radical changes', which I think refers to the idea that Chelsea may have to go through a barren spell in order to regroup. He wants to win, and he wants to win now, and part of that is getting more out of the players already on the team, which frankly shouldn't be too hard. On the other hand, he seemed to be aware that this was a transitional point from one generation to the next, and it doesn't seem that he'll be sacrificing the future for the present. Maybe I'm reading into things too much because I want to believe that he's embarking on a long-term project... but it sure sounded as though that was the plan.
Those are the two big points, but there's some other stuff as well:
- He's aware of the Chelsea-Newcastle scouting report being leaked, and seemed happy that the fans were getting interested in what he was doing. His attention to detail is legendary, of course, but importantly he doesn't believe that that's all there is to winning - it just helps to be prepared for the game. All very true.
- When Sir Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United, Andre Villas-Boas had just celebrated his ninth birthday.
- Something random I realised today: No manager has ever won a Premier League title after having managed in the league with another team. Only one manager has even managed in England before taking over the team they've guided to the title, and that was Kenny Dalglish. This 'Premier League experience' thing is a wee bit overplayed.
- Villas-Boas posed for pictures at Stamford Bridge within a seat of where I was for the Chelsea-Newcastle game in May. That makes me like him even more, which I had previously believed to be impossible.