Top 10 Managers Of The Season #3: Andre Villas-Boas
In Sportskeeda’s exclusive “Top 10 European Managers of the Season”, let’s take a look at the Number 3 on the list.
Read #4 in the Managers’ Series here (Stay tuned on www.Sportskeeda.com, Each day a new manager)
#3: Andre Villas-Boas
It was 1994. The late Sir Bobby Robson had just taken hold of Portuguese side FC Porto when he received a letter from an unknown Sixteen year old. The letter was addressed to the ex-England manager, and the subject was the inclusion of a player in the starting eleven, who was sitting out for the past few seasons. Though he would win one of three consecutive titles that year, in the eyes of a young Andre Villas-Boas, Robson was making a huge mistake by keeping striker Domingos Paciencia on the bench and out of action. The young lad who had given up on playing football to focus on numbers, data, and the more technical aspects of the game, clearly wrote down and stated his doubts and concerns on the topic. Robson reacted by asking Villas-Boas for some factual backing of his claims; and thus unearthed a diamond, though we can be quite certain that even he didn’t know how massive this find was going to become. Andre did write back, long with boatloads of facts and statistics pointing to why he was right and backing up his theory.
Sir Bobby was so impressed that he immediately contacted the young man for a backroom role in FC Porto’s youth team. Then, he moved on from the job, and became part of Mourinho’s backroom staff in Porto and Chelsea. What Villas-Boas did was simple. He gathered data about the opposition, sorted it out, stacked it up, and fed it to the club’ players. The data would encompass numerous DVDs that lasted for a few thousand minutes of play time per season. He analysed everything, from a player’s preferred movement to their visible mental aspects, and reported it back to Mourinho, who would base specific training regimes and tactics based on it. This microscopic aspect to the game from Mourinho rubbed off on the learning for Villas Boas, and the same reasons that helped Mourinho be such a giant at home for over nine years makes this man’s teams the same juggernauts at home. As we all know, he stopped deputizing for Jose in 2008, and went on to pursue a career as a coach. He started off his coaching career with a brief stint as the head Coach and sporting director of the National team of the British Virgin Islands, where he stayed for one-and-a-half years. Next, in 2009 he was contacted by Portuguese club Academica de Coimbra. They were a team in much trouble when he arrived. Three points from eight games saw them languish in last place, and they had no hope of survival. But, Villas Boas turned things around making them a tough team to beat, and the next three games saw them take seven points. Come the end of the season, they finished 11th in the league and enjoyed a good run in the cup competition too. The boy genius had arrived in Portugal. Porto were so impressed that they fired coach Jesualdo Ferreira to hire Villas-Boas.
Which brings us to the 2010-11 season. The season that just ended. In the summer, two of Porto’s best players had left along with their ex manager to pursue football elsewhere, which made Villas-Boas’ job hard. At the beginning of his tenure as Porto coach, he tactically destroyed Benfica, winning 2-0 in the Super Cup and since then, there was looking back. He turned Porto into a powerhouse at home, being undefeated in the league and the team with the best record in European competition this year. He was unbeaten at home in the Portuguese Primeira Liga (Much like the man we know as “The Special One”) as the team he masterminded steamrolled their way to an impressive Quadruple, winning all four competitions they had participated in. To top this off, he had an astounding 84.48% win percentage with Porto, and they played attractive albeit effective football. His astounding season at the helms of the Estadio Do Dragao has seen him break into our “Top 10 Managers of the season” list ahead of many other registered contenders, including his mentor ‘The Special One’.
In the end, it was a bit fairy-tale-ish when Andre Villas Boas’ Porto left Domingos Paciencia’s (the man who he vouched for when he was sixteen) Sporting CP for dead to win the Portuguese League. Also, a bit of destiny reeked in the air when he lifted the Europa League, and later dedicated it Sir Bobby Robson. As if fate was letting us all know that something quite remarkable was happening. A young knight had now arrived; not a “mini special one” but rather, “The Chosen One”. Andre Villas Boas. Our Best manager across Europe #3.
And with him now at Chelsea, these are going to be exciting times for the London club and the Premier League. Whether or not he goes on to emulate Mourinho’s achievements remains to be seen, for but now, Andre Villas-Boas is the most exciting man to watch out for in football.