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Villas-Boas must learn from Chelsea mistakes

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Phil McNulty | 18:34 UK time, Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Andre Villas-Boas arrived at Chelsea last summer armed with a three-year plan that proved he was not lacking in confidence and optimism. Nine months later he was sacked by Roman Abramovich.

Less than four months on, the 34-year-old Portuguese is back in London at Tottenham. He has a contract that presumes another three-year plan but faces another tough job as successor to Harry Redknapp, who was dismissed despite finishing fourth in the Premier League.

Villas-Boas, who was on Liverpool’s radar before they turned to Brendan Rodgers, has proved the old concrete confidence is still in place by taking another job so close to his previous home at a time when the scars to his reputation have not healed in many quarters.

These qualities may be his aid at White Hart Lane because less assured men may have shied away from returning to England so soon after such a damaging experience.

Andre Villas-Boas

Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has replaced Harry Redknapp as the new Tottenham Hotspur boss. Photo: Getty

He will have been buoyed by the knowledge that his stock remained high, that many felt he had not so much been handed a poisoned chalice at Chelsea but an empty one once things started to go wrong.

Villas-Boas, however, will need to return to the capital as a more mellow and measured individual or run the risk of the same pitfalls that led to his demise at Chelsea.

He cut a confrontational, and at times arrogant, figure during his brief time in west London. He attempted to impose his ideas too quickly on a notoriously strong-willed squad, misjudging the mood, alienating Chelsea's fans and many at the club to end up a beaten and demoralised manager.

Villas-Boas was not at Chelsea long enough to do his previously glowing reputation irretrievable damage but he may still consider himself fortunate that Spurs have placed such faith in him so soon after beating a retreat back to Portugal.

When Chelsea appointed “AVB” last summer they heralded the arrival of Europe’s most coveted young coach.

The special circumstances surrounding the notorious lack of managerial longevity under owner Abramovich at Chelsea will have played a part in persuading Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that the glowing references of 12 months ago still hold good today.

There is an element of gamble in Levy’s choice. Villas-Boas may hear the charges that he is damaged goods if he gets off to a bad start – but Spurs wanted a vibrant young manager to work within a modern framework and have settled on him as their man.

It will be intriguing to see if Villas-Boas returns as a changed personality. He may need to have a more even approach inside and outside the dressing room this time around.

He was a compelling character in his trademark crouched position in the technical area but he was too quick to see shadows and enemies where none existed, especially in the media. It is also stretching the elasticity of reality to breaking point to suggest he was a popular figure even within his own club.

There was sympathy for his plight when he was dismissed, with even Abramovich making it clear to Chelsea’s players that he held them largely responsible for him having to sack the man who was very much his managerial pet project.

Villas-Boas' time at Chelsea was characterised by his failure to carry the influential old guard with him.

He was asked to give the dressing room a younger, more progressive look but appeared to want to take a sledgehammer to the Stamford Bridge careers of experienced players such as Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba rather than oversee a gradual evolution.

Spurs will be banking on Villas-Boas learning from his mistakes as he has a hard act to follow in Redknapp, who was only denied a place in the Champions League by the stunning Chelsea renewal overseen by Villas-Boas’ former right-hand man at Stamford Bridge, Roberto Di Matteo.

Villas-Boas is sure to have spent his time away from England reflecting on the dark days at Chelsea – but it should also be stressed Chelsea’s players must take a large share of the blame for their failure to play for him.

While Chelsea’s road to success in the FA Cup and Champions League brought a permanent job for Di Matteo, Villas-Boas was perfectly entitled to sit in front of the television at home in Portugal and ask where was this resolve, this fire, this unity when he was in charge.

He played a part in his downfall but he was not alone. And those of us who saw Villas-Boas at close quarters last season will know he will be burning inside to prove his critics wrong.

He may need to go on a charm offensive with a media he was only too happy to take on before his sacking but he is unlikely to be so chastened as to not be fuelled by a feeling of unfinished business in the Premier League.

Villas-Boas watching will be quite a sport at Spurs because he captures the imagination. Unless he has undergone a character rebuild it will not be dull at White Hart Lane.

He almost revelled in battling the media, happily rubbing our noses in it on the rare occasions Chelsea did get it right, infamously announcing after a Champions League win against Valencia: “Here we have given everyone a slap in the face.

“It is unfortunate for you guys in the media because you have to report on a brilliant win for Chelsea and we qualify first in the group. It is difficult for everybody and today this is difficult for you." The audience was left bemused.

It is a feisty and brave approach that needs results to back it up. Chelsea did not get those results and perhaps this is another lesson Villas-Boas will heed.

The Chelsea debacle is sure to be mentioned in his new environment but his year at Porto proved him to be a coach of genuine talent and charisma and Spurs will fit his profile perfectly as a place to rebuild his reputation.

Villas-Boas will hope Spurs' players can respond to his detailed tactical approach – remember his ill-fated attempts to play “a high line” with Chelsea’s defence? – and total conviction in his methods.

He has already had the perfect start with Gareth Bale’s decision to sign a new contract. Ironically, another top priority is to retain the services of Luka Modric having spent much of his sole summer at Chelsea hoping to lure him to Stamford Bridge.

Many of us felt Villas-Boas was placed in an almost impossible position at Chelsea, although he did little to help himself. He was asked to carry out a long-term job at a short-term club – although the improvement after his departure may have caused him both hurt and embarrassment.

Levy ruthlessly removed Redknapp to bring in Villas-Boas. He is unlikely to place his manager under pressure as quickly as at Chelsea but life in the modern Premier League means a fast start is compulsory at a club such as Spurs.

On the day he was sacked, Redknapp said: “He will bounce back. He is a young man with a big future.”

The future now for Villas-Boas is replacing Redknapp at White Hart Lane. If he has learned the lessons of the past he can still live up to the words of his predecessor.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Spurs fan here. All the best to AVB, I hope he's a success and quickly, because those impatient and deluded fans who didn't think 4th, 5th, 4th under Redknapp was good enough will have their knives sharpened already!

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm glad that AvB is being given another chance at this level. He was totally hung out to dry at Chelski. I think he'll do well at Spurs. I believe Levy is ruthless but genuine. Thwe fact that he has got Bale to sign an extension tells you that the players (at least Bale does) believes in him and Spurs. I'm really looking forward to next season and think it is going to be one of the closest (with regards to the number of teams who can still win it near the end) in years.

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree swintondude. He was one of the most sought after coaches last year. One bad season at Chelsea, where he was never going to win any power battles, does not make him a bad manager. No sports player or manager or team always wins, and it's how you react to defeat that helps define you.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not sure I agree with the "must learn from his mistakes" mantra that is being spouted.

    He was hired to do a job of rebuilding Chelsea, with a certain style of play, he wasn't given the chance to do it. It was widely reported in the press that he was phasing out the older players, whereas he was playing as much as everyone else.

    I think given the opportunity to get some of the players he wants, he will be a very good appointment by Spurs

  • Comment number 5.

    Chelsea fan here. When AVB arrived at the Bridge we never felt we were getting the new Mourinho but there was a sensation of excitement that here was someone capable of revamping an aging team. Unfortunately, although his concepts were sound, his execution was a bit hamfisted. He was clearly unpopular from the get go, professionals should see past this but it clearly didn't happen.
    I doubt this will happen at Spurs - they'll want to make a success of him if only to prove a point and he'll certainly have more time to assert his ideas. I wish him well, he's obviously a good manager. My only worry for Spurs is that their expectations are considerably higher these days, but I can't see them sacking him before the end of the season.

  • Comment number 6.

    Glad he's got a second chance, it's hard to make obvious judgements about where it went wrong at Chelsea. Could have been anything from the players' lack of willingness, incorrect tactics on his part or an attempt to instil tactics forced on him by Abramovic that a Chelsea team so used to counter attacking football just weren't ready for. Probably a combination.

    Either way, I'm always happy to see young managers get a second chance, I hope he gets a decent amount of time, some backing in the market and a good attitude from the players and fans.

    If he has the above, then failure or success would clearly be down to him, rather than extenuating circumstances or excuses, if you like.

  • Comment number 7.

    I suppose the question is what constitutes success for Spurs this coming season?

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks Phil, well worth the money. You're insight is majestic.

    Talk about stating the ble??//g obvious.

  • Comment number 9.

    wish AVB all the best loved watchin his Porto team in the Europa League and thought he was givin a bit of a hard time at Chelski by players who should have known better.

    Hopefully the Spurs players will give him a chance and the fans wont mind to much if they dont make the CL because if he is given time I believe he can build a good team.

  • Comment number 10.

    @ 8

    Why do certain people always feel the need to criticise Phil mcnulty?? As far as I can see he does a good job.

    If you don't like his blog, why read it??

    By the way, good luck to AVB

  • Comment number 11.

    Spurs fans will be expecting the same brand of exciting attack focused football that Harry brought us and similar levels of success. I didn't agree with Harry's sacking, but we have to move on and back AVB. If we can do the Gooners twice and finish top four again, his Chelsea days will be forgotten.

    Spurs have to spend well in the summer. Signing Saha and Nelsen in January was pointless and contributed to us finishing how we did. We need a quality goal-scorer to give us 20-25 league goals, a centre half to prop Ledley up and a new keeper.

  • Comment number 12.

    As a Chelsea fan I hope AVB does well at Spurs, but not too well of course! At Chelsea however he has to admit he was largely responsible for his sacking. When Chelsea needed a goal he took off infuential players like Juan Mata on countless occasions. He persisted with Jose Bosingwa and Raul Mereiles who were woeful for the best part of last season. He even picked Bosingwa at left back instead of Bertrand when Cole was not available for one match! He was completely out of his depth at Chelsea and this move to Spurs is a huge gamble but I wish him all the best. After all he is only 34, and has many many years left in his carear, and he can read and write far better than the widely loved 'arry'.

  • Comment number 13.

    Informal soundings among my fellow Spurs fans are very polarised, ranging from measured optimism to premature despair. In short, we just cannot predict how AVB will pan out. But if he fails, Levy won't escape the fans' wrath. However provocative he was to Levy, however disappointing was our post-February slump, Harry brought more success, pride and entertainment to Spurs fans than any manager since Terry Venables. You don't sack Harry without a gold-plated guarantee that his replacement will be better.

  • Comment number 14.

    Speaking or arrogance Phil, why don't you and your press buddies who ride the gravy train for free remember that you are here to report the news, not to twist and spin it.

    Who gives a flying stuff if AVB said something you didn't like? If you could be trusted in your reporting in the first place and asked a straight question, you might get better answers.

    AVB's fate should be decided by his employers, informed by colleagues and fans. Not the likes of you!

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Vilas-Boas will improve at Tottenham as he now has the benefit of witnessing failure. Speaking as a Chelsea fan, I felt that he perhaps would have benefited from another year or two at Porto - not because of his age, but simply because he had gone through a season where absolutely everything went right for him with a squad that was clearly the best in the league at the time. This meant when he got to Chelsea, in a far more competitive league where defeats can and will happen, he didn't quite know how to react. This shows how, at the beginning of the season when all we saw was confidence, Chelsea looked very dangerous (if a little suspect at the back). After a couple of setbacks, however, he became a very different figure who clearly didn't quite know how to fix things. Now he's witnessed this, I think he can improve as a manager and results will come.

    Wish him all the best at Tottenham, since I do like the guy (and always did while he was at Chelsea, despite the results), and hope he has a good career still to come!

  • Comment number 16.

    Nothing against AVB but if he wasn't good enough for Chelsea why he is good enough for Spurs?

  • Comment number 17.

    I ask myself which school do these so called sport analyst go: Because it seems obvious to me three things that make a good football manager; tactically astute, man management skills and ability to make positive changes or substitution to affect the course of a game. When you evaluate a manager based on these three factors, then AVB was a failure in his short/long tenure at Chelsea. With the personnel he had at Chelsea, even a part time coach of a pub team would not play the so-called high defensive line, cos you need a pressing midfield working in tandem with the defence to make it successful a la Barcelona, so tactically he is zilch. I don't need to say anything about his man management, whether or not Chelsea's old guard were willing to play for him or not, the onus was on him as the manager to find a way of managing them. And lastly, he didn't make a single positive substitution in all the games he was in charge at Chelsea, this was a guy more concerned with giving the squad players equal amount of playing time regardless of the individual, particular skills of the player and how best to utilize a particular player.There're players that good managers know performs best as pinch hitters, coming from the bench, or gives their best in the first 60 minutes or so. One of the reasons why AVB's tutor Mourinho is regarded as one of the best is his ability to change the course of a game positively through his substitutions.
    I guess Levy has a crystal ball, Good luck to him and Spurs, anyone who goes back on a gentleman's agreement like he did in the Luka Modric affair deserves all that's coming their way.

  • Comment number 18.

    Totally agree, we had such a good start and I actually thought we had a genuine chance of winning the league until the result at QPR, and then the 5-3 drubbing at Arsenal and we totally capitulated, the good football we were playing went, and he totally lolst the plot with tactics, team selection and man management.

  • Comment number 19.

    We'd better not hear anything about the Paris-Dakar rally or whatever it is you choose to do in your spare time Mr Villas Boas. This is Tottenham Hotspur FC; any move from here is sideways or down.


  • Comment number 20.

    In response to Royalist, plenty of managers are sacked, move on and are successful elsewhere. Clough, Ferguson, Mourinho, Redknapp and Del Bosque have all been sent down the road over the years. Being sacked by Abramovich could happen to any manager, regardless of what was or wasn't won in any given season. That's how he operates.

    Yes, AVB made mistakes (which manager hasn't?) and time will tell if he can cut it at Spurs. Harry isn't coming back and if the fans rebel at this stage we'll do a Liverpool!

  • Comment number 21.

    Yet again the Hack, who clearly knows little or nothing about professional football,
    pontificates. BBC, Please try to employ someone who is a class above this Driveller.
    AVB is a class act, as he will demonstrate, and real football afficionados will wish him

  • Comment number 22.

    as a Chelsea fan it annoys me to this day when people focu on the dressing room as the source of AVB's demise at Chelsea. From day one it was clear he had under-estimated the job

    he was clearly over-whelmed by the level of media scrutiny, leading to some very badly timed comments to the Press

    As for tactics-i wish i;d seen some! Spurs problem under 'Arry was that he could do the basics extremely well but proved unable to take it any further. AVB's problem is that he couldn't do th basics. i have rarely seen a manage so utterly unable to organise a defence. everyuone seemed to want to blame this on poor individual defending on the likes of Luiz but this doesn't explain why our defense improved so greatly under Di MAtteo. come one, it's hardly rocket scioence that playing a recognised defensive mid in this position and introducing a level of cohesion beteween the defense and the midfield wil improve the defensive record!

    his man management was awful. banishing players to the reserves if they disagreed with him, sure he was hired to replace the old guard but you do this by phasing them out, and not how he did, and not in crucial Chammpions League ties. sticking with his favorites (meireles, bosingwa) no matter how out of sorts they were

    that game in Naples simply symbolised everything that was wrong with his reign. banishing Cole and Lampard to the bench was bad enough, but assuming an out of position and out of sorts Meireles would be able to contain that lethal Napoli front three was simply lunacy!

    won't deny it'll be interesting to see how he copes at Spurs though. the foundation of any greta manager is being able to the basics, and until he can prove he can master this i'm yet to be convinced. imo they'd have been better off going for Blanc

  • Comment number 23.

    As a Gooner I would love this to fail spectacularly but I fear that he will in fact do a good job. I'm not sure he'll surpass what Harry did though and that sacking will always be questionable at best but presumably it was purely a power struggle between Harry and Levy and there would only be one winner there. When Harry was left to manage the team (which is I think all he would ever have wanted to do!) he was arguably second to none. AVB had no chance going into a Chelsea dressing room ruled by the stars within; I imagine it was their way or no way. Di Matteo is deservedly a Chelsea legend but I imagine he was something of a puppet for the regime(s) within. Chin up though Spuds, it's only a few years until the year ends with a '1' again ;-) (cue deserved retaliatory comments about our dusty trophy cabinet ;-)

  • Comment number 24.


    'Spurs problem under 'Arry was that he could do the basics extremely well but proved unable to take it any further. AVB's problem is that he couldn't do th basics.'

    That's a pretty well-put and accurate summary.
    I personally found AVB quite an endearing figure at Chelsea. His open and seemingly fearless criticism of the media clearly riled them, so for that alone I will always wish him well! Tactically flawed though, as you say. Maybe went for a bit much a bit too soon.

  • Comment number 25.

    "with even Abramovich making it clear to Chelsea’s players that he held them largely responsible for him having to sack the man who was very much his managerial pet project."

    Source please Mr Mcnulty. Because last time I checked, Abramovich has never spoken to anyone on this issue or any other. I'd seen it reported at the time in many places but never with any source. So if you have one, please enlighten us. Otherwise you're parroting other un-sourced articles, which is sloppy/poor journalism, it seems the world of Football is rife with it.

  • Comment number 26.

    AVB had a short spell at Porto where he inherited a good team. Winning the Portuguese league was the minimum requirement.

    Most people in Portugal raised their eyebrows when he was given the chelsea job, most people were not surprised when he was sacked by chelsea.
    As for going back to Porto after Chelsea for the coming season he would probably have been the 3rd choice.

    Now everyone is raising their eyebrows now he has been given the Spurs job.
    If he is allowed to bring a few familiar faces like Alvaro Perreira , Otamendie, Joao Moutinho , etc , it could work out , if not he will go the same way as before.

  • Comment number 27.

    'He almost revelled in battling the media, happily rubbing our noses in it on the rare occasions Chelsea did get it right, infamously announcing after a Champions League win against Valencia: “Here we have given everyone a slap in the face.

    “It is unfortunate for you guys in the media because you have to report on a brilliant win for Chelsea and we qualify first in the group. It is difficult for everybody and today this is difficult for you." The audience was left bemused.'

    In fairness he does have a point, both in that instance and of the media in general. Chelsea not winning their group last season would probably have provided a pretty big story in the media and he would have clearly have faced criticism for sections of the media, whereas by winning the group it was a total non-story. Additionally, the likes of Jose and Redknapp provide the media with juicy quotes to fill up words and generate headlines. Sometimes it does seem as though some sections of the media (not all), do what certain managers to fail. If Spurs get off to a bad start then i'm sure the knives will be out quickly.

  • Comment number 28.

    C a r l o s T e v e z .

  • Comment number 29.

    I cannot for the life of me understand this decision on football grounds. I am a committed spurs fan but, even with the late season slump, fourth was a fantastic achievement in such a competitive league. Remember the days of Gerry Francis? Of Christian gross? If you had told spurs fans then that we would finish fourth twice and fifth in three seasons then we would have laughed you out of the pub!

    The man that delivered this was Redknapp. He may not have been the most tactically astute or the best at keeping his counsel and not annoying the board, but we won in the San siro for gods sake! I have nothing against AVB but this decision is such a huge gamble and very difficult to understand. It is obviously based on the politics behind the scenes, which is a real shame, when we should be celebrating the best spurs team of the last thirty years. The power rests with levy and doesn't he know it. This is make or break for him as well. If spurs return to the dysfunctional and chaotic state of only four years ago he will have a lot to answer for and the 'levy out' bandwagon will gather pace! It's just a shame when things were looking good. All the best teams have shown that stability is the key, but it's impossible at spurs whilst levy falls out with every manager

  • Comment number 30.

    Spurs fan, rather obviously given the user name, but anyhoo:

    AVB is likely to be far more successful at Spurs than he was at Chelsea. The high defensive line will work a lot better if its possible to employ centre halves with some sort of pace e.g. not John Terry and positional sense e.g. not David Luiz.

    What will be key however over the summer is how well we manage to spend the funds raised from the sadly inevitable Modric sale.

  • Comment number 31.

    Personally, i'm still reeling from the two crushing hammer blows, of missing out on the CL, and losing Harry Redknapp; but Bale has signed a new contract, and a more composed, unflappable AVB gets a clean slate. When dealing with football journalists in this country Mr Villas-Boas - don't take yourself too seriously.

  • Comment number 32.

    Well if he can bring us Moutinho and his old boy Falcao from Athletico Madrid, that would be a very good start. After what happened at Chelsea he's gonna be very determined to rebuild his reputation as one of Europe's best young coaches, so as a Spurs fan I wish him luck, but I do remember Ramos and shivers go through me! At least AVB speaks decent English.

  • Comment number 33.

    @22 agreed the fact that AVB used
    Meireles a CAM in a CDM position was really odd i thought and that night in naples cole was fit but on the bench With bosingwa playing in LB out of position was really ludricous. I hate it when coaches put aside logic and prefer to use their own countrymen instead of picking the best candidate for the position

  • Comment number 34.

    I would have thought spurs fan would be crying in despair at his appointment but its not as i thought. Good luck to u and ur new manager spurs fans

  • Comment number 35.

    Just a couple of things Mr McNulty, since when was AVB on Liverpool's radar? Both AVB and Liverpool denied this speculation produced by poor journalism.
    Mistakes at Chelsea, what mistakes? He was brought in to clear out the deadwood and bring in youth, player revolt and no backing from the owner didn't help one bit and in the end Roman bottled it and bailed to player pressure. Di Matteo will not do any better in the league than AVB.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 35 if it wasnt mistakes that brought his demise what was it? Surely he didnt get sacked because everything was going perfectly? And after what RDM achieved last year with winning CL and wih the likes of Hazard Marin and hulk on he way and with torres regaining his previous form, chelsea are will be one of the favourites to win the league next year.

  • Comment number 39.

    I do hope managers like AVB and Rodgers get time irrespective of where they finish in the league next May. I do believe it can take a full season for a manager to implement his style on a team.
    Just look at Mancini, if he got sacked last May 2011 I doubt City would have had a premiership trophy to show this year.

  • Comment number 40.

    I wanted Villas Boas out from Day1 at Chelsea and his sacking was such a pleasing moment

    Thank God 4 Di Matteo - A true Blue Legend who saved us and made us

    Can't wait for Villas Boas to fail at Spurs and see them crumble away and losing their big players.

    Love Di Matteo and Chelsea
    Always Hate Villas Boas

  • Comment number 41.

    @38 - Who doesn't make mistakes? He was brought in to implement changes but wasn't backed. Let's not forget that Hazzard and Marin are not Di Matteo's choices, they are Roman's and I'm not sure Di Matteo knows how to use those type of players.

  • Comment number 42.

    When Wenger arrived at the Arse his reputation came before him, he was allowed time to understand the culture of a club built on the foundations of 'stop them scoring at all costs' to a side that played unashamed attacking football from back to front. This wasn't a season's work, it took a while before he achieved a cup or title. We, on the other hand, have sought to go for reasonably big name managers, most, without EPL experience and expect miracles within the confines of our admirable footballing style - all within a season or two. In Harry, we were bequeathed a caretaker - a wily (and not unskilled) sage, to whom the Club should be ever grateful - whatever you think of his allegiances and seemingly distant regard for the Club. We've learned the art of winning games and at times played the best football in the EPL. It strikes me that in AVB we have a young and talented coach, cognisant of the way things are done in English football (from his foray at Chelsea) hopefully, having learned from his mistakes and inheriting the nucleus of a decent team. These days managers (coaches?) do not get the time Wenger was gifted. So, expectations for next season? Somewhere between avoiding relegation and Champions! Mr Levy - if you're convinced by AVB, give him the chance to get things right for more than the 9 months he had in west London. We're shy of a quality centre back, one or two strikers and Mr Friedel's pension is due soon. If and when these players arrive it'll take til the end of the season to truly bed them in. So 2013/14 will be the season to watch! Go the Spurs!

  • Comment number 43.

    I think it's a fantastic appointment for spurs, being a Chelsea fan I believe he wasn't given the time needed and was massively undermined by certain players in the club. At spurs he has a basis of a team who plays with his attacking style, a style that would have taken Chelsea at least a few years to come around to, he has a team whose players don't have such an affect on the inner runnings of a club.
    Yes we won champs league last year but I think that papers over the cracks of that Chelsea still need an overhaul ( hoping with signings that's an intent on a change in style) fear that if AVB gets it right this year, that point diff from last year could get bigger.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think it will be extremely difficult for Villas-Boas to take Spurs to a higher position in the league than Redknapp managed last season. In fact I would argue that it would be an achievement to claim fourth place again as Chelsea will almost certainly not be as poor in the league as they were last season.

    Having said that I expect Spurs will continue to play attractive, attacking football which as a neutral is always good to watch.

  • Comment number 45.

    Appalling “journalism”. I agree with #14 Mr BlueBurns. Report the facts, maybe congratulate him on the appointment, speculate on the style of play, and what he might do differently to Redknapp.

    Totally inappropriate tone, “behave yourself or we (the media) will make life very difficult for you, and you may lose your job again”.

    The sad thing is the media do have the power to make AVB’s life very difficult, regardless of results. Good luck AVB, you seem like a decent bloke, passionate about the game.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ Pen Tan - oh yeah, so why's he paid well for his opinion? He's respected by most people; you got something special to suggest? an', what are your qualifications to comment so?

  • Comment number 47.

    Sadly, Harry's demise was brought about by his failure to come up with a plan B meant hat he could only come up with the same formations and plays in spite of teams such as Norwich figuring it out.
    I happen to agree with Levy's decision but I also agree that Rednapp had brought that brand of football back to the lane that we had been waiting for... just at times the defending was pretty poor.
    I hope AVB brings tactical depth, and a few signings from italy and spain, where he has contacts. We certainly need stability at the back, replacements for King, Gallas, Neilson, Kumalo and even Dawson - Kabul I thought was a stand out defender last year but like Dawson was injured a bit too much (although not as much as Dawson).
    Up the Spurs - and Y'darmy!

  • Comment number 48.

    @41 in ur first commen u said "what mistakes? At chelsea" now ur saying "who doesnt make mistakes?" i dont understand ur position

  • Comment number 49.

    Dear all,

    I have recently had an eye-opening experience with regards to sports journalism and analysis. It is a video of the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban appearing on a very widely watched program on ESPN in the US called First Take (available on Youtube). This program is hosted by two people who could at best be described as shock-jocks. I highly recommend that you check out this video if, like me, you enjoy a goold-ol' beat-down of an armchair pundit.

    Much like our friend Phil McNulty here, such 'journalists' thrive on what Cuban calls generalities; words that really have no quantifiable meaning and that therefore cannot be challenged or scrutinised. They happily indulge in phrases like, oh I don't know, "lacking in confidence", and "notoriously strong-willed squad", "misjudging the mood", "alienating", "demoralised manager", and so on. However, when quizzed on the basics of the game they allegedly analyse, they flap around like headless chickens.

    This lazy approach to 'journalism' is of course a substitute for the more rigorous treatment of the journalistic profession which involves seeking out information from credible sources or even the coaches themselves, analysing tape and taking down notes, looking at statistics, and so on. The BBC (and I'm once again borrowing Cuban's point here) is a mightly and wealthy organisation. It can afford to hire a myriad of experts who are competent at analysing this beautiful game of ours, and before anyone says it, without going over the layman's head. But they CHOOSE to give you this template nonsense that is clearly aimed at impressing executives with the hundreds of comments appearing on the blog, not realising that the vast majority of the commenters do not even read the blog (and rightly so, because frankly it is not worth wasting your time reading this nonsense).

    My point is that people need to start rejecting the BS. Once they do that, people like McNulty will not be able to get a job blogging on football until he pays his dues and puts in the effort, and maybe then England will start producing cerebral players and coaches.

  • Comment number 50.


    English football journalists are pretty much woeful. It's all hype and the obsession with 'mind games' via juicy quotes, regardless if its a red top or broadsheet.

    The Italians, for instance, have give more scrutiny to tactics in their reporting.

    Is it the English/British football fans or the state of the media circus?

  • Comment number 51.

    I think AVB had an impossible mission at Chelsea. He needed to "revamp the team" but couldn't because the old guard didn't want to be "revamped".

    #49 if you are so set against the blog why would you even post? It's the number of posts that the higher-ups measure, not the content. Reject the BS by NOT posting.

    Actually I find this blog to be one of the more cerebral on BBC sport ... guess my standards are low, or somebody's anyway. Still can't stand the yellow everywhere in the page layout - too glaring (hmmm, maybe there's a connection ...)

  • Comment number 52.

    I recently heard Roy Keane comparing AVB at Chelsea to Brian Clough's time at Leeds and although I think that is a bit of an unrealistic comparison, I believe that this will pan out in a similar way. I really hope he does well at Spurs and the playing staff certainly fit the style of play. Will be interesting to see who they sign.

  • Comment number 53.

    Okay, so we have AVB now. It'll be tough for him if he doesn't get off to a good start and I think it will be difficult to get results quickly. Considering the squad could soon include Vertonghen and Sigurdsson (which seems likely) and perhaps one or two of Oscar, Moutinho, Damiao, Remy, Dzagoev and Lloris if the gossip is to be believed! There will be new players for sure coming in so he will need time to get them working together and the players themselves will need time to "click". The worst thing that could happen is if we get thumped at Newcastle in the opening game. That will test everyone's belief in AVB, not least mine! But hey, let's be optimistic, he may turn out to be an inspired choice.

  • Comment number 54.

    A bit off topic but what manager in this day really stands a chance. Blanc has just resigned due to poor showing of France at the Euro's. Hodgson has done better than expected but will be accused of not doing the decent thing. Rednap, is he really no good. AVB is better , or what, than him. Does it not show that success is fleeting.

    Every year we witness the casualties, the manager who's team have not beaten everyone in sight. Some teams come a close second, and someone really loses bad.

    I think managers should blame the players MORE

  • Comment number 55.

    No need to harp on his young, brazen misunderstood methods at Stamford Bridge. The manner in which Chelsea won the Champions League will be as anti-climatic as Greece winning the Euros, excepting of course in the warped minds of the Chelsea faithful. AVB, as you mentioned, was betrayed and labeled the scapegoat as the spoiled senior members and gutless, yet money-ladened, Russian sacrificed the Portuguese prodigy for trying to finally put out the flames of player arrogance and abandon the playing style of that other pompous Portuguese manager...the pretentious double-standards and unbearably disrespectful manner at Stamford Bridge is the great truth that nobody wants to acknowledge: just look at the list of phenomenal managers deemed "average" by a sullied entrepreneur who believes that monopolized cash is the measure of character...AVB to plunder and brand Spurs into their backsides next season!

  • Comment number 56.

    I hope this works out, but it does remind me of something quite familiar:

    Jolly Martin Jol, the friendly manager of Spurs, gets Tottenham 5th in the league on consecutive seasons, missing out on Champions League Football to a freakish food poisoning incident. Losing in both cup quarter finals to the eventual winners.

    Jol is harshly sacked, fans outraged by his treatment and replaced with a new wonder manager! He can get us where Jol just can't, they say...

    Juande Ramos, with Sevilla wins back to back UEFA Cups, and on such a sterling reputation is rather strongly brought to Spurs as Jol's replacement.
    Implementing his own style, Spurs tend to get kicked off the park with a lightweight twinkle toes style, which worked so well in Spain.
    Juande gives Tottenham their worst every league start in history.

    Golden boy Juande's days are numbered, with rumour of his training methods and lack of communication being reasons for the poor form.

    Enter good old Harry Redknapp, the affable friendly character, the fans and media love. Tottenham recover and then achieve 4th,5th and 5th.
    Missing out on Champions League to the remarkable turn around by Chelsea winning the CL title. (no freak poisoning required this time).

    Harry is then suddenly sacked much to the outrage of many* fans, and the new wonder manager arrives.

    AVB, tarnished by Chelsea, but lauded for his back to back wins of the Portuguese league, and then Portuguese league/cup double and UEFA cup, comes to Spurs as Harry's replacement...

    Does history repeat itself?
    Which chirpy cheeky manager is coming to rescue Spurs from their next worst start in league history?
    Or will AVB break the foreboding, seeming repeat of events at Spurs....

  • Comment number 57.

    At 02:13 4th Jul 2012, dagger wrote:

    Sorry but it feels as " you hope "

  • Comment number 58.


  • Comment number 59.

    As an Arsenal supporter, I am greatly respectful of this hire for Tottenham. Great coach, Spurs fans should expect great things.

  • Comment number 60.

    haha he's only got a job in football in the first place because he was Sir Bobby Robson's neighbour. Inherited a great team at Porto. I suppose its not what you know; its who you know. Should of stuck with Harry.

  • Comment number 61.

    Roman was right to sack him, the turnaround says it all.

  • Comment number 62.

    I am disappointed with Spurs' treatment of Redknapp and wasn't impressed by AVB at Chelsea. I find myself losing enthusiasm for this club and, frankly, would not be surprised to see AVB sacked before not too long. Like most people I watch my football from the outside so don't know enough to know the specific details of the internal workings of any club nor do I really know any individual manager/player etc. Nevertheless AVB does not impress I'm afraid. Pity too that Spurs have long been a decent enough club with a team playing entertaining football, but speaking for myself, they have lost my interest and goodwill towards them. I am sad to say I won't regret it if they struggle this year.

  • Comment number 63.

    I can't understand the reasoning that one standout season in one highly ordinary league, plus an as-yet completely unproven reputation as a deep tactical thinker, are good enough credentials to manage THFC.
    Oh yes, and AVB won the Europa Cup as well. Would I be happy to see Tottenham win this next season - but fail to qualify for the CL ? Er, no.
    It's a huge gamble by Levy, especially when there were so many other available choices - Blanc, Benitez, even Guardiola - with so much more top-flight experience and so much better credentials.
    I hope for the best, but fear for the worst.

  • Comment number 64.

    61. Is that the turnaround that saw Chelsea move from 4th under AVB to 6th under RDM? That was amazing and don't try to suggest that they weren't trying to qualify for the Champions League via their league position

  • Comment number 65.

    Every coach and manager in the world seems to think very highly of this guy but I do not think any of the Spurs fans are looking forward to next season with any great relish. Not quite sure what happened with Redknapp, there seems to be an underlying story that we will probably never hear about but he will be a difficult act to follow. Let us hope that Levy (and Joe Lewis behind him) have it right this time but you won't find any spurs fan putting money on it.

  • Comment number 66.

    The Spurs will have to be ready to loose Modric. Moutinho is the man AVB wants to replace him, and he will probably change things a bit and give Van der Vaart a deeper role and play with Bale and Lennon as true wingers in a 433 formation instead of the usual 4411 or 4231. They need physical presence in the middle of the park as Parker and Modric are too soft at times. Rui Patricio or Lloris would be great additions as the top choice keeper. And it is urgent to find a partner for Dawson.

  • Comment number 67.

    63. How many trophies did Spurs win over the last 10 years? Porto has won one Champions League and two Europa Leagues. Apart from Bale and Modric Tottenham are average when you compare them to the "ordinary" players from Porto or Benfica.

  • Comment number 68.

    What do you mean "handed an empty chalice"?
    After he left we won the FA Cup and the Champion's League, remember? It was along time ago, wasn't it? He showed himself incapable of dealing with anybody of any standing, and made himself deeply unpopular at all levels at Chelsea. He won't last a year at Tottenham.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ha Ha. AVB. Where to start with that guy.......Maybe he could be good in the future but he showed me nothing at Chelsea to suggest that he is capable of emulating or bettering Harry at Spurs. Nothing at all. Hopefully though he puts in a bid for Raul Meireles seeing as he loves him so much. Yeah it's a gamble by Levy appointing 'a bull in a china shop' which was clearly AVB's style in the CFC dressing room.

  • Comment number 70.

    @68, chelsea is an 'old boys' club, any manager not named Mourinho or Hiddink gets controlled by the players and the owner. AVB simply wanted to run the club on his terms and you didn't let him. I'd be ashamed if my club operated like that even if we fluked a Champions league win like you did. If England had had your CL luck this summer they'd have won the Euros.

    Will be interesting to see whether AVB can succeed at Spurs who will give him genuine authority. I imagine he must be more intelligent that 'arry, but does he have the man-management skills?

    If this appointment doesn't work out Tottenham are finished as a top four side and AVB is finished as a top-level manager.

  • Comment number 71.

    The Harry debate will go on and on but he's gone and we have to look forward.
    Significantly Bale has signed for another 4 years which is a terrfiic boost.
    We're also getting shot of some strange singings e.g. Ryan Nelson and I hope that for the players like Bentley, Dos Santos and Jenas they are allowed to move on.
    It also releases more funds and I'd rather have a leaner and better squad than we have now.
    Modric will go and if we get £30M that would be a boost for other signings along with what's already earmarked.
    I am a huge Modric fan but he's not the finished article and deson't score enogh goals for someone of his sublime skills.
    So AVB will take over a very different team to Chelsea and with a different brief.
    Some people don't seem to grasp this point.
    He has the nucleus of an outstanding team with Bale, Walker, Sandro, VdV, Parker, Benoit, Kaboul, Lennon etc but clearly there are areas where the team nees to be strengthened.
    If Modric goes we'll need a creative midfielder (not sure The Hudd is there yet), central defence is suspect with only Kaboul the outstanding asset (Dawson has one good season followed by a mare or suffers long term injuries) but it's up front where we need to deliver more.
    Adebayour was good last term but it seems that his reputed £170k wages would be the stumbling block which I would understand form a purely commercial view.
    But maybe Levy can use some of his business acumen to work something out.
    Defoe must be hacked off scoring his fair share of goals but not given enough chances.
    But we need to add more firepower and get a class finisher.
    I would be suprised if AVB hasn't learned from his mistakes at Chelsea but he was hung out to dry by Abramovich which is what he does (good luck Di Matteo).
    There's no doubt it's a risk and if it fails then Levy will have another balck mark against his name.
    However I feel optimistic.
    The Club have made an unpopular decision but moved on quickly and at least we have a Coach in place with enough time to shape the team around his beliefs and he still has enough traction to attract good players to come to the Club (so long as he doesn't refer to it as a Project).

  • Comment number 72.

    Whether he is a success or not is down to whether the egos in the Spurs dressing room and the vultures in the media (that's you, McNulty) give him a chance to just get on and do his job.

    Unlike when he was at Chelski...

  • Comment number 73.

    As a long time Spurs fan, I hope we get thumped badly enough enough in the first six games for AVB to be shown the door.
    I can't think of a worse appointment that Levy could have made apart from offering it to George Graham again. Can it be true that he didnt even speak to Blanc. Quite clearly, Levy ( a much poorer version of Abramovich ) wanted a Yes man and to be fair, he has got exactly what he wanted.
    If AVB really is that highly regarded ( and I'm not convinced that trying to make Chelsea defend 15 yards too high was a great tactic), why didn't any other clubs seem to want him.
    Taxi for AVB!

  • Comment number 74.

    As a Chelsea fan, may I first of all say 'best of luck' (though not too much luck) to AVB, who I regard as a strong managerial talent let down by veteran players having a strop.

    Secondly, once again Phil you have managed to paint a one sided picture. You blame AVB 'arrogance' and 'confrentational' manner for his failure to motivate his players and thus succeed, and make many warnings that this has to change if he is to succeed at Spurs.
    At no point do even acknowledge the possibility that the one stand-offish comment made by AVB after the Valencia win was due to the ongoing media crusade against him, a campaign started before he'd even begun his season at Chelsea.
    In reality, from the off AVB became the notoriously biased and rumour-mongering British media's newest whipping boy.
    I think he was perfectly justified in being a little aggressive to a press which had critiqued and undermined his authority with constant questions over his experience.

    And I see that, once again, with this blog the ground work is once again being laid to jump on any mistakes or less than immediate success at Spurs, all, i'm sure with a smug 'i told you so' tone.

    I agree that AVB was not a success at Chelsea, and that he made mistakes. And yes, he was not helped out by the big egos in the team who should have grown up and gotten on with it.
    However, one can't ignore the fact that from day one the sporting media scrutinized every decision and result he made in a less than flattering light, yourself included Phil, and that this image you created of him was a key part of his dismissal.

    I can only hope that Levy and the Spurs board have more sense than Abrhamovich and learn to ignore what the press say.

  • Comment number 75.

    Still unhappy with the sacking of Harry. I've been a spurs fan for many years and the last three years have been the most successful for us for a long time. Sometimes I think that the chairman,board and some of the fans don't appreciate just how much we have over achieved in the last few years. We don't have the huge resources that a large stadium and a fat cat owner bring, but Harry still managed to make us punch above our weight.

    I hope AVB does well, bit his first job is to bring in some strikers as Defoe (our only recognised striker) and Rafa up front ain't gonna be enough.

  • Comment number 76.

    From the outside looking in, this appears to be a huge gamble by Daniel Levy. After what happened at Stamford Bridge last season, everything Villas-Boas does at Tottenham will be forensically examined and any problems will be blown up out of proportion. It seems a rather odd choice on the face of it. No doubt the Portuguese has talent and potential, but does he still carry scars from his experience at Chelsea?

    The Tottenham job is a pretty tough one right now. They will find it hard to compete financially for the best players and the goal is to break back into the top four, no easy task when there are plenty of clubs with more muscle. Every manager should be given time in a new job but if things don't start well, there will be massive pressure.

    Sometimes in football, a gamble is worth it and pays off. Daniel Levy will be hoping Villas- Boas has something to prove and that will force him to succeed at Tottenham. It is certainly one of the more interesting appointments of recent years and the outcome is impossible to predict.

    First job for Andre is simple. Get all the players on board, even the older ones. There is huge talent in that squad and as Di Matteo has proved, having everyone pulling in the same direction can often lead to silverware.....

  • Comment number 77.

    "When Wenger arrived at the Arse his reputation came before him, he was allowed time to understand the culture of a club built on the foundations of 'stop them scoring at all costs' to a side that played unashamed attacking football from back to front. This wasn't a season's work, it took a while before he achieved a cup or title. "

    Err no it didnt.

    Leanr the history of 'your' club.

  • Comment number 78.


    I saw that clip recently before you posted your comment, I agree completely. The same goes for most of the BBC football pundits (barring Lee Dixon, who at least tries to be original). Vialli and Klinsmann were also quite refreshing.

    If I have to hear Hansen say "he has pace... he has power... and technique" again (and Shearer to parrot) I think I'll kill someone.

  • Comment number 79.

    spurs fan, great appt for me! never given the time at chelski, all this banging on about RDM but look at the facts avb left you in a higher league position than you finished! he was hired to rebuild a team that mourinho built about 7 years ago which was ageing - terry 31, cole31, lampard 33, drogba 34 etc etc etc he brought in mata and gave everything to get Modric yet wasnt given the time to rebuild. Difference at spurs is that the core of our team is still young aged between 23 - 28 so he aint gonna have that problem, the big concern (which harry never addressed) is the defence, king, gallas need replacing and we need a 25+ goalscorer and a keeper. if we can get those (rumoured names remy, vertonhen, sigurdsson, oscar, moutinho, Dzagoev) then we are gonna be a real force. Big job for him will again be around modrics future but this time trying to keep him (i think he will move on) but the money (levy apparently makes £50m available) plus the modric fee will push us on! so chelski have signed a couple of players, the old problems remain and lets be honest you lost your best player when drogba left! COYS above the west london boys again!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm a Spurs fan of 40 years (with the grey hair to prove it), AVB is a terrible mistake. I hope I'm proved wrong but ..........

  • Comment number 81.

    What does Phil McNUlty get paid for? He seems to choose the most obvious blog topics, the topics that have already been done and dusted, and then regurgitate them. It's obvious AVB must learn from his mistakes at Chelsea, just as it is obvious everyone should learn from every mistake they have ever made, otherwise we are doomed to repeat them. It doesn't need a blog.

    I can see the manager doing well long-term there, but I think they'll probably finish top 6 rather than top 4 this season. I'd expect the top 6 to consist of the two manchesters, spurs, arsenal, chelsea and Liverpool - no surprises there - but as to who will finish where I don't know. Arsenal could win it in 12-13, with their two new strikers, if they sign a midfield maestro. I think Spurs will slip a little as they get used to the new man and strong competition around him, but I think he'll start to bring in players who are bought into him, which didn't happen at Chelsea as players there seem to be signed by Abramovich. If he gets to sign his own players, then long term I think spurs have title potential under AVB, which is why I was a little gutted Liverpool didn't hire him

  • Comment number 82.

    An unbelievable appointment, AVB is arrogant, and not in a positive way, as Phil M rightly recognizes, this element of his character does not bode well for his management of players at Spurs, I can not help but think that there is only one way for Spurs to head now and that is down the league, from where if we remember Harry brought them up from... Good will need it Spurs fans.....

  • Comment number 83.

    #81 Sonnyhart

    Even if we conclude that AVB didn't sign players at Chelsea, what makes you think he did at Porto or will at Spurs?

    Spurs have had a director of football before, may well have now for all I know. Also, he would have known the situation at Chelsea before he went there.

    The manager performing more of a coaching role is something that has happened more on the continent and you know what, teams/clubs on the continent do well using it.

  • Comment number 84.

    "Villas-Boas must learn from Chelsea mistakes"

    Phil McNulty earns his crust yet again with an insightful look at the new Tottenham coach.

    I'm sure the licence payer deserves a little better.

  • Comment number 85.

    My concern with AVB was terribly naive tactical approach with Chelsea - he tried to turn a squad of Chieftan tanks into Ferrarris overnight.

    Di Matteo immediately turned things around by playing to Chelsea's strengths, and it all seemed very, very obvious.

  • Comment number 86.

    Interesting article Phil. You've certainly left it open for debate. For those that post to criticise, what's the point? He rarely reads it.

    I think Levy sensed that 4th spot was the best he was going to get from Harry. Given last season's collapse in form didn't help Harry's case either. Looking at Harry's record at other teams there is a clear pattern. His success is at "doing a job" and then moving on. Very rarely has he brought in / developed youngsters who could be the future of a club. The same is happening at Spurs, Gomes, Friedel, Gallas, King, Van der Vaart, Ekotu etc are all approaching either the end of their careers or the 27-28 mark. Levy sensed it was time for a change.

    AVB is a gamble given his spectacular failure at Chelsea. One hopes he's learnt from his mistakes there. If it pays off, Spurs could well have pulled off a coup!!

  • Comment number 87.


    Without stating the obvious (can I blog for the BBC too, my rate is cheap) that's Harry's dressing room.

  • Comment number 88.

    81.At 09:32 4th Jul 2012, Sonnyhart wrote:
    "I can see the manager doing well long-term there, but I think they'll probably finish top 6 rather than top 4 this season. I'd expect the top 6 to consist of the two manchesters, spurs, arsenal, chelsea and Liverpool - no surprises there"

    "then long term I think spurs have title potential under AVB, which is why I was a little gutted Liverpool didn't hire him"

    I'm confused. Why do you think LFC will finish on par with Spurs? Why are you then gutted that you didn't get AVB if you managed to claw back a gap from 8th to 4th?

  • Comment number 89.

    #86 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    The reasons you cite for Redknapp's departure may well be valid.

    But, it IS something of a gamble with AVB since has he shown he is adept at any of the things that you believe Redknapp wasn't?

    We all talk about bringing in young players but rarely are managers given the leeway (by fans and owners alike) to make mistakes along the way. If, say, Levy had said to Redknapp that he wanted a different squad make up, please bring through players like you did at West Ham (I think), then who is to say that given a couple of seasons, he couldn't do it?

    Afterall, think Walker, think Rose etc

  • Comment number 90.

    87.At 09:56 4th Jul 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:

    Without stating the obvious (can I blog for the BBC too, my rate is cheap) that's Harry's dressing room.

    Is it? Several of the players were quite unhappy with the way Harry did things. I think as long as he doesn't alienate himself with the senior figures like he did at Chelsea then he should be fine. If they can get a modric replacement and a striker then they should be in with a shout.

  • Comment number 91.

    Phil - Unless you were a Chelsea fan during his tenure at 'the Bridge', I think most people are unaware of what kind of manager/leader is AVB? What are his strengths; tactical, organisational, inspirational, etc. well, clearly ability to motivate experienced players, isn't one of them?

    I think if you would have asked most Spurs fans who would you wish to see take over from Harry (this was when everyone assumed he would be getting the England job), AVB would not have been high on the list? I can see the argument that AVB's experience at Chelsea would be a motivating factor for Daniel Levy to bring him in at Spurs, i.e. give him an opportunity to show what he can do in the PL, and 'poke Roman Abramovich in the eye' at the same time!!

    However we come back to the same question, what are AVB's proven strengths, what sets him apart from other managers?? Apart from the undoubted success he had in Portugal, his main claim(s) to fame seems to be his age and the fact he cost Abramovich a reported £15m to secure his services.

    I suspect Spurs have taken a massive gamble, so unlike Mr Levy????

  • Comment number 92.

    AVB is good appointment in terms of whats available.

    He will make sure spurs are midtable.

    Same with Liverpool. They will be midtable.

    Future is not bright for the 2 teams

  • Comment number 93.

    As a life-long Spurs fan, I am quietly pleased by this appointment. I feel that it will take a year for AVB to bed in, and that we may not make the top 4 next season, but that shouldn't matter. If he is given the time (even if we do loose a few games to start with). I feel AVB can take us to a higher position than Harry was ever capable of. Within a couple of seasons, I would expect him to have us back in the Top 4, and competing to win trophies again (something that never seemed likely under Harry). In Levy we Trust!

  • Comment number 94.

    #91 wellinever223

    and 'poke Roman Abramovich in the eye' at the same time!!

    and the fact he cost Abramovich a reported £15m to secure his services.
    I read somewhere that AVB getting a job so soon means that it will save Abramovich about £11m in severance pay. That's the sort of poke in the eye that I would quite like.

  • Comment number 95.

    89.At 09:59 4th Jul 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Which is why I said that AVB is a gamble. The difference between him and Harry is that he's won the league. Granted not EPL, but at least he knows what's required. I mean Spurs fans can fool themselves that 4th was a good season, but let's look at it objectively.
    League - 4th despite having some 8 point gap whilst in 3rd.
    FA Cup - Spanked by Chelsea after a tactical "blunder" by Harry.
    Europa - Didn't make it out of the Group Stage
    League cup - can't remember, can't be bothered to look it up, did they make the quarters?

    I think it was quite a poor season in reality. AVB wil; bring them something different.

  • Comment number 96.

    #93 eddies_gonna_get_ya

    I would expect him to have us back in the Top 4, and competing to win trophies again (something that never seemed likely under Harry). In Levy we Trust!
    Well, I think AVB has the Europa Cup on his CV, something Harry didn't get you close to, so, you may be right. ;-)

    And I think that competition will be your ceiling for a little while yet.

  • Comment number 97.

    Tactically AVB is streets ahead of Harry.

  • Comment number 98.

    Redknapp did a decent job, his end to the last season excepted, but he didn't put together a particularly future proof squad and has left AVB with a few holes to plug.

    Friedel is obviously of an age where you question how long he can go on as number 1. I expect AVB will give Portugueuse speaking Gomez a few chances to prove himself but if he doesn't take them they'll need a new keeper very soon.

    A centre half is an absolute must given King, Dawson and Gallas' ability to stay fit. It might be beneficial to have a clean break and lose at least two of those with the new signing from Ajax partnering Kaboul and Caulker and perhaps Dawson in reserve.

    The full back positions are well stocked if he keeps Naughton at the club, he was the better of him and Walker at Sheff Utd and even played on his weaker side to a high standard. He deserves a chance.

    Parker is all action box to box player who's become pigeon holed as a defensive player because he can get stuck in. If you look at him at West Ham he was the driving force and chipped in with goals. I think he lacks the positional sense and mobility to anchor a midfield at the very top level and would benefit from a switch to 433 which would allow Sandro more game time. Ultimately Spurs could do with a central midfielder to step up be it a returning Huddlestone, Livermore or a signing. If Modric goes as predicted then a couple will be needed. Moutinho would be an ambitious one. Yes he likes AVB but he's at a regular CL club and would have no shortage of suitors in the big leagues if he decides to move.

    Wide areas have good first options but the team looks very inbalanced as soon as Lennon is out which in recent seasons he has been a lot. They could certainly use another player there.

    The biggest void is up front however. In 10/1 Spurs didnt get fourth because they couldn't put weak sides to bed and that came largely from the lack of a top number 9. Adebayor was a useful stop gap but he's lazy and of an age where you wonder whether he's got the motivation. This is big area Spurs need to look at with two signings required with Pav and Saha having gone.

    The other question mark is VDV. He has all the talent in the world but doesn't seem capable of excelling for more than an hour in a match. If he's to be given a free role off the front for the course of a season the two behind him need to be more solid than an ageing Parker and a foreign playmaker like Modric especially in the big games.

    4/5 play

  • Comment number 99.

    "too quick to see shadows and enemies where none existed, especially in the media"

    Come off it Phil: the knives were out from the word 'go'. The media couldn't wait to portray an 'AVB' v 'the old guard' battleground - the Stamford Bridge soap opera was meat and drink to the headline-seeking hacks.

    "Redknapp, who was only denied a place in the Champions League by the stunning Chelsea renewal overseen by Villas-Boas' former right-hand man at Stamford Bridge, Roberto Di Matteo"

    I suggest it was more to do with a disastrous collapse of form by Spurs, overseen of course by that old media favourite, 'Arry!

    Decent blog though Phil. Keep 'em coming and ignore the boo-boys (as if they could do better).

  • Comment number 100.

    #95 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Ahh, but as I said, your main point at #86 seemed to be about bringing through players. From what I know, Redknapp has more of a track record for that.

    Of course, he may well have all the other things you say, but then I think that's true for any manager with the slightly glass ceiling in the English league.


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