Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Villas-Boas gets Grant backing for Chelsea job

AFP, LONDON

Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant believes new boss Andre Villas-Boas has what it takes to succeed at Stamford Bridge.

At 33, the Portuguese Villas-Boas will be the youngest manager in the English Premier League when he succeeds Italian Carlo Ancelotti as soon as his release from Porto is agreed.

Villas-Boas previously worked at Stamford Bridge as a scout under compatriot Jose Mourinho.

Grant, director of soccer at Chelsea before replacing Mourinho in 2007, said Villas-Boas’ youth would not count against him.

“He is a very nice guy, is intelligent, a nice person and I enjoyed being with him, even if it was for only a short time,” Grant told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Does he have the experience? No. But the authority? Time will say. I think yes,” the Israeli added.

“I know he is young, but Pep Guardiola when he went to Barcelona was young, without experience and he did a great job,” said former Portsmouth manager Grant, who was sacked as boss of West Ham within hours of their relegation from the Premier League last season. “Football is a game of results, experience is important, but more important is the quality and the authority to take a team and move it forwards.”

Last term saw Villas-Boas guide Porto, his hometown club, to a treble of the Portuguese league and cup titles, as well as the Europa League, and an impressed Grant said: “When I saw Porto and how the players behaved towards him, the players liked him and he had authority, so he can do it also here. At the end of the day, players are human beings and if they see that he has the quality to take them forwards, they will respect him.”

OWNER’S DEFENSE

Meanwhile Grant, despite his own experience of being sacked by Chelsea after leading them to a penalty shoot-out Champions League final defeat by English rivals Manchester United in Moscow three years ago, defended the Blues’ Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich against charges of excessive ruthlessness.

Many observers lamented the fact Ancelotti was dismissed just a season after overseeing a Chelsea league and FA Cup double, but Grant said: “Roman is a guy who says he wants results and he gives you everything to achieve the results.”

“He wants it as quick as you can and you can expect it because he has put a lot of money in,” he said. “At the end of the day, football is a game of results, especially Chelsea.”

BACKGROUND

Villas-Boas, who got his start in coaching under the late former England manager Sir Bobby Robson, worked under Mourinho at Inter, as well as Chelsea, before taking the same route to the manager’s chair at Stamford Bridge by previously being in charge of Porto.

However, Grant insisted: “Villas-Boas will be himself. As a young coach, he will take some things from here, some things from there, but as far as I have heard of him from last season, he likes to keep his own personality, his own way of how he looks at football — and you can see that his team plays a little different than Mourinho.”

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