Abramovich 'quit on me' - Villas-Boas
ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS has accused the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, of betrayal, broken promises and “quitting on me” when sacking him as manager in March.
Villas-Boas, who has succeeded Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur, said he would “never accept” the decision of Abramovich to dismiss him a mere eight months into his Chelsea project.
Villas-Boas insisted he was not on any personal mission to restore his reputation at Spurs but, speaking for the first time about the heated confrontation with Abramovich in which he was fired, it was clear the frustration remains with him.
“I respect the decision of the owner of Chelsea but I will never accept it,” Villas-Boas said. “I told him that for me, it was him quitting on me when he had been so much involved at the beginning in bringing me in [from Porto] and he was also [the one] who was not putting up to the things that he promised.
“What reason did he give to me? I’m not sure if I can make it public but the reasons don’t go along or can’t be applied to the fact that I was dismissed.”
Chelsea regrouped under Villas-Boas’s former assistant Roberto Di Matteo and won the Champions League and FA Cup. The Portuguese did not seek any credit for the trophies but did note he had assembled the squad to win them at the start of the season. He added he had been denied the opportunity to collect the silverware, with the suggestion being he would have backed himself to have done so.
“The decision to terminate what was going on at Chelsea was not mine, it was the owner’s. It is all very well that you cut the project short and Chelsea go on to win two trophies and [you] say how wonderful the squad was, but at the beginning nobody believed in that squad when we put it together.
“It was a tremendous learning experience, which I am grateful in some ways to have gone through because it makes me a better coach and a better person at this time. But the decision to cut it short was not mine and for Chelsea to have won the Champions League and the Cup was because we were still in those competitions.
“I had the opportunity to win them cut short and I had cut short the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League when I was just three points off the fourth position. This is what I recall from the day when I was sacked.”
Villas-Boas’s demise at Chelsea was sealed by a poor run of results and the failure to man-manage, or ego-massage, some of the more seasoned members of the squad who railed against him. Lessons, he admitted, had been learned.
“I am always a person who defends certain principles that were never understood in England and it requires much more adaptability from myself,” he said. “I am a person who always puts the team in front and I do it publicly. I’m not a guy who is able to criticise anyone in public but I am not a guy who promotes individuals in public.
“I understand now that certain things can be done better and you evolve in different ways. Hopefully, I can apply the different things I have learned properly.”
Villas-Boas did, however, concede that Abramovich’s decision to sack him had liberated the players and provided the catalyst for their glorious end to the season. “On the day of my dismissal, I told Roman that eventually, you can win these two trophies because the emotional impact is extremely strong.
“I was able to benefit from it when I went to Academica [in Portugal] and they were rock bottom. Players free themselves, a burden of pressure is taken off them. That is exactly what happened at Chelsea. I don’t see what they achieved as part of what I left there. What I had to do is put that squad together to be able to play those finals and to win them.”
On his arrival at Tottenham, Villa-Boas added: “After Chelsea it was important to choose somewhere I was surrounded with the right people and commitment. It is not a mission of restoring my reputation, it is about putting Tottenham back on track for titles.”
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