Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Arrogant Villas-Boas made a rod for his own back at Bridge

Instead of reflecting on two seismic results in games I commentated on over the weekend at Anfield and White Hart Lane I find myself today thinking mainly about two managers, one involved in those games who I’m certain is ‘on his way out’, the other already gone.

However, the only thing that would have surprised me about the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas on Sunday was if anyone had been surprised by it. Though the Portuguese coach maintained, almost until the end, that he had the support of Roman Abramovich everyone else knew that was wishful thinking.

And, when it came to emptying the dressing-room of dissent as opposed to dismissing the manager, the Russian owner chose the cheaper option. Trust me, this was as much about ‘player power’ as it was about the continued mismanagement of Chelsea by Abramovich.

Instead of ruthlessly getting rid of the old guard as soon as he took over, Villas-Boas clearly thought he could ‘handle’ them while gradually introducing new players and changing the way the team played. It couldn’t happen without spilling blood on the carpet: his, not theirs’.

So you now have a situation, typically pitiful of much of the Abramovich era, in which the players rule the roost. Since, I gather, key members of the squad rate Roberto Di Matteo no higher than they rated Villas-Boas, they, NOT the interim coach, will be picking the team for the remainder of the season. It’s a fiasco.

Villas-Boas certainly made mistakes, in team selections and tactics — I’ve written about them here — he was on a hiding to nothing. Still, don’t show too much sympathy: at times he couldn’t hide his arrogance and he generally bristled at the slightest criticism.

He also walks away with, I believe, £8 million in compensation and almost certainly will soon walk into the job at Inter Milan once they dispose of Claudio Ranieri, another past victim of Abramovich rule.

Who, in his right mind, would go to Chelsea? I would argue none except those prepared for the sack and a cheque for leaving. Pep Guardiola is an intelligent man: he’s not stupid enough to go there.

Maybe Harry Redknapp? No, that’s just a mischievous thought. Our ‘Arry is bound for England no matter the nonsense being spoken by the FA’s ‘gang of four’. They have a “list” do they? I nearly died laughing!

Look, as I understand it, Spurs have basically told them to go away until April by which point they hope to have made certain of a Champions League spot next season. THEN, the club and Harry can negotiate the terms for ‘departure’ and ‘arrival’. Claiming there are ‘other candidates’ is simply an attempt by the FA not to have themselves thrown over a barrel. It won’t work.

And don’t think Redknapp doesn’t want it. If he didn’t, he’d say so now, Daniel Levy would be happy and England plans for the summer and a successor to Fabio Capello would descend into chaos. Mark my words.

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