Why Chelsea should keep Andre Villas-Boas
Three Premier League defeats in four games and Champions League last 16 qualification compromised. The last few weeks have been very tough for Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas.
Previous managers Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti were dismissed seemingly for less by ruthless owner Roman Abramovich.
Ancelotti won a league and cup double but was axed after the following season while Grant moved on despite being a John Terry penalty slip away from winning the Champions League.
However, there are several reasons to believe Villas-Boas may stay in his post long-term despite Wednesday’s 2-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen.
The first is the 13 million pounds Abramovich shelled out to Porto so the Portuguese could move back to Stamford Bridge in the close season. It may seem like peanuts to the Russian billionaire but he also has business sense. Then again, Villas-Boas mentioning this as a reason to be kept on probably isn’t so wise.
Another factor is the merry-go-round of managers at Chelsea has to stop at some point. Alex Ferguson’s success at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger’s achievements at Arsenal, including pulling them out of their recent rut, demonstrate the pluses of longevity.
Chelsea invested in AVB for a reason and that reason can not have been completely destroyed by a bad patch of form less than halfway through the season.
It would also be very, very risky to make a change ahead of the crucial home Valencia match in two weeks time which will decide whether the Blues make the Champions League knockout stages.
Chelsea’s team is ageing and time needs to be taken to rebuild it. Ideally one manager should be allowed to do this, even through lean times on the pitch.
Guus Hiddink, a former caretaker at Chelsea and hugely regarded by Abramovich, is obviously now free but whether he wants such a rebuilding job at the age of 65 is unclear.
Villas-Boas, 34, is young and keen enough to have the patience for the task.
Whether Abramovich has the same patience remains to be seen.