Belfast Telegraph

Blues boss unfazed by mind games

Andre Villas-Boas has vowed not to become the latest victim of Sir Alex Ferguson's mind games, claiming the impact of psychological warfare between managers is overrated anyway.

Chelsea boss Villas-Boas faces arguably the biggest challenge of his fledgling managerial career on Sunday when he pits his wits against Ferguson for the first time. The Manchester United manager's mind games have become the stuff of legend, with the likes of Kevin Keegan, Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez all appearing to suffer meltdowns in reacting to them.

Villas-Boas insisted on Friday he would not buckle, saying: "You just have to wait and see how you are provoked and if you need to respond or not. You can react in different ways, and transmit other ideas to the players. The most important thing is for the players to have belief in the manager."

He added: "If the manager concedes to an advantage of that kind, it might look like he is subjective to pressure."

Villas-Boas, who swept the board at Porto last season, added: "Last year in Porto, I had my disagreements with the Benfica manager (Jorge Jesus), which was normal when they were threatening to the title, but it had no effect on the title race."

That approach runs contrary to that of Villas-Boas' mentor, Jose Mourinho, who believes a football match begins at the pre-match press conference.

"That was just his philosophy - this is mine," said the 33-year-old, who was not even born when Ferguson began his managerial career and had only just turned nine when the Scot was appointed United boss.

With Villas-Boas having been headhunted by Chelsea just two years after beginning his own foray into management, Ferguson could be forgiven for feeling some resentment towards his latest adversary.

Villas-Boas, who began taking his coaching badges as a teenager, said: "Sir Alex was a player, I wasn't a player. You cannot compare.

"There are good examples of people who didn't have playing careers and took a job at a top club. I was lucky enough to have that at Porto and we won four trophies. I'm lucky enough to find myself here now."


From Belfast Telegraph