Premier League - Paper Round: Players 1-0 AVB

Mon, 05 Mar 08:43:00 2012

Monday's papers are full of sympathy for Andre Villas-Boas following his sacking as Chelsea manager.

West Brom 1 Chelsea 0

Daily Mail: Players 1 Villas-Boas 0

Matt Lawton: "In the end it came down to this: either Roman Abramovich fired the 25 players who make up the senior Chelsea squad or he took the significantly cheaper option and sacked the manager instead. It was always going to be difficult for a manager no older than some of the senior stars — particularly in a dressing room as strong as Chelsea's. But Villas-Boas did himself no favours with tactics that far from suited key personnel, his desire to play with a high defensive line that contributed significantly to the poor results they started to endure. "

The Guardian: AVB callowness no match for Chelsea's veterans

Richard Williams: "In Vietnam, they called it 'fragging': the deliberate killing of a commanding officer by his own men. It happens in all wars when experienced foot soldiers lose respect for their leader and put their own survival before loyalty. And now it has happened at Chelsea. Twice... This is an astonishing degree of influence for players to wield, particularly when their employer is one of the world's richest men. Evidently Roman Abramovich, who can do whatever he likes with his £11bn fortune, prefers to listen to the whispers of his workers rather than put his long-term faith in the coach he hired to turn them back into a winning team."

The Times: AVB architect of his own downfall

Matt Hughes: "The failure to bond or even interact with his players is the overriding reason for Villas-Boas's downfall, which has been dramatic even by Chelsea's standards, and is something close to a tragedy for a man who was being feted as a record-breaking Europa League winner with Porto only ten months ago... A man who thrived on the total control he was given at a relatively small club such as Porto floundered when his authority was challenged from above and below at Chelsea."

The Independent: Another toy thrown from the playpen

James Lawton: "When you buy a football club as a personal playpen, somewhere to wander in and out of whenever the whim takes you, there is a very good chance a lot of the toys are going to be smashed. In the case of Roman Abramovich and what might be described laughably as his stewardship of Chelsea most of the playthings are human, which in the wake of the misconceived adventure starring Andre Villas-Boas has to make you wonder how long the casualty list will become before the oligarch tires of a futile game."

Daily Mirror: Chelsea don't do trust... or patience

Oliver Holt: "Chelsea is a dysfunctional family moulded by an oligarch who seems to exist in a constant state of disappointment and flux. No one is good enough for Roman Abramovich. Not for long, anyway. And soon he flits to another fancy. Maybe the young Portuguese wasn't the right man but the truth is that we will never know. He was not given the chance to prove it one way or the other."

Daily Star: Chelsea are a laughing stock this morning. An impossible club to manage.

Brian Woolnough: "The only thing guaranteed when you take over at Stamford Bridge is a big, fat pay-off. If the players don't get you, then Roman will. Andre Villas-Boas didn't stand a chance in this cut-throat corner of west London. Too young. Too inexperienced. Too naive... Abramovich needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask himself how exactly he's going to achieve his dream. Not by sacking managers at the first sign of trouble, he isn't. Money can buy you anything, it seems, although not style and ­common sense. Eight months is all Villas-Boas got."

Daily Express: Ruthless sacking is the hallmark of Roman Empire

John Dillon: "Isn't it one of the most damning indictments of all of the regime of Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge that he always proves the speculation and the headlines to be correct? That he always confirms what everyone, including his doomed patsies in the dug-out, can see coming for weeks beforehand?... The sacking of Andre Villas-Boas just over eight months after Abramovich appointed him at extraordinary expense is the most spectacular statement yet of the ruthless nature of his reign in west London. Given all that has happened before, that has taken some doing."

The Guardian: Helpless, lonely and lost the final days of bewildered Villas-Boas

Dominic Fifield: "Andre Villas-Boas had started to wear that familiar haunted look... Once the anger subsides, Villas-Boas might even feel relieved. One of Europe's brightest young coaches, a 34-year-old who had felt such a breath of fresh air upon his appointment last summer, has been broken by Chelsea."

Daily Telegraph: Only Mourinho has the talents to clear up the mess

Henry Winter: "Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, has been through so many managers that it is surely only a matter of time before he starts round again. He has to return to Mourinho. In the wake of Andre Villas-Boas' departure, fevered talk bubbles forth about possible successors. Pep Guardiola is mentioned, although why on earth would he leave Lionel Messi to work with Raul Meireles?... Abramovich must also acknowledge his own culpability in the damage to Chelsea's credibility. (He is) to managers what King Herod was to a successful youth policy."

The Sun: Chelsea must bring back the Special One

Steven Howard: "Roman Abramovich should have made it clear from the start that Villas-Boas was his man and he was giving him the time and money to rebuild the club. This message never came across with the result that the senior players did what players always do - blamed everyone else except themselves. And they made it abundantly clear they thought AVB was out of his depth. How ironic that he should be replaced until the end of the season by Roberto Di Matteo, another coach the Chelsea players don't rate... There is only one man who can turn Chelsea round. Yes, Jose Mourinho."

The Sun: Why would Pep take Blues job?

Ian Wright: "Now people are talking about Pep Guardiola, maybe Jose Mourinho going back, but why would Pep Guardiola want to leave Barcelona, whatever money they're going to offer him? He's already said that he wants to have a break if he does leave Barcelona, why would he want the Chelsea job? Why would anyone want the Chelsea job with an owner that does things like that?"

Villas-Boas sent on his way


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