Chelsea have confirmed that manager Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked and that making a change was the club’s ‘only option’. Former Chelsea midfielder Roberto di Matteo has been put in charge as first-team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Statement on the chelseafc.com:
The board would like to record our gratitude for his work and express our disappointment that the relationship has ended so early. Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season. The club is still competing in the latter stages of the Uefa Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts. With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time. With immediate effect Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed first team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Was it right to sack AVB?
No. Sacking AVB was not at all the right decision, rather I would say it was an atrocious one and a total embarrassment to the club.
On purely financial basis, it took Roman Abramovich £13.3m in compensation to bring Andre Villas-Boas to Stamford Bridge from Porto. He had already spent more than £10m paying off former boss Carlo Ancelotti and his coaching staff. But AVB was just 36 weeks into a three-year deal worth £90,000-a-week, pocketing £3.5m for 40 games. Abramovich will have to fork out a further £11m just to get rid of the Portuguese. Add on the price of recruiting yet another superstar manager and the total cost of Villas-Boas will soar way beyond the £50m spent on record-signing Torres last year.
To give a young but highly talented manager just nine months to bring success to a club in transition simply wasn’t long enough. Let’s remember, Abramovich is the man who sacked Avram Grant after more than nine months in charge despite finishing second in the league and reaching the Champions League final, and who got rid of Carlo Ancelotti a year later after having guided the club to a domestic double. However, AVB could have taken the club in a new and exciting direction. His entire philosophy is centred around building a team not as a collection of star individuals, but as a unit who will play for each other; and this cannot happen overnight. His task was made even more tougher by incredibly unprofessional and childish behavior by some of his star players especially Frank Lampard. Who as a senior member of the Chelsea and the England squad should have acted as a leader within the side whether he was picked or left on the bench, rather than criticising his manager and the relationship they both shared. Whilst Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole have been accused of practically leading a mutiny against their manager. The blame for Chelsea’s fortunes lie with them, and not their boss.
Chelsea for the past two or three seasons have been a club in need of transition, with a key of star players like Drogba, Malouda, Lampard, Cole, Cech and Terry having passed their peak but still having influence in the dressing room over the side in the wrong way. AVB showed courage by being unafraid to drop them and trying to do what was best for the club in the long-term and at the same time to get the best out of these players by playing them more sparingly, but he simply didn’t have the time to the shape the team in his own image.
The Chelsea hierarchy invested in a three-year project, one that could only work if the manager was given the security to know he could create his own team. Villas-Boas showed bravery but didn’t get Abramovich’s backing. It’s sad that someone who could have been a new ‘Special One’ was never given the chance to shine at Stamford Bridge.