Chelsea on their website has said:
"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."
The Blues faced a shameful defeat against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, where they were thrashed 1-0. Gareth McAuley]s dramatic last minute winner served as a death knell for AVB.
Chelsea is now in fifth position with 47 points off 27 matches behind City, Man U, Spurs and the Gunners. The 2009–10 champs, who started off the season in a spectacular way, have hit a new low with only one win from the last seven encounters. Refer the table below:
When 34-year-old Andre Villas-Boas, a protégé of Jose Mourinho, took the reins from caretaker coach Gus Hidding last year, he stressed on the need of applying thought on field, rather than solely resorting to physical strength and intuition.
During an exclusive interview with 'The Telegraph' ahead of his Premier League debut, Boas had then revealed his philosophy of the game - a holistic approach encompassing the dynamics of the game, beyond the playing formation:
"Many players can’t understand the game. They can’t think about or read the game. Things have become too easy for football players: high salaries, a good life, with a maximum of five hours work a day and so they can’t concentrate, can’t think about the game. Barcelona’s players are completely the opposite. Their players are permanently thinking about the game, about their movement, about how to provoke their opponent with the position of the ball."
AVB's RECIPE FOR
Opposed to the classic English 4-4-2 style, Boas is an aficionado of Barcelona’s 4-3-3 style, that had been tested and proven successful during Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea stint. Boas, who followed Mourinho all along through Porto, Chelsea and Inter as his assistant manager, also shared the ‘Special One’s faith in 4-3-3 formation.
Abiding by this format, Mourinho earned Chelsea six trophies in three years - including two consecutive League titles. But his wasn’t blind faith, and he is known for altering his techniques to suit different clubs than favouring a single style. In Porto and Inter, he employed 4-4-2 diamond as well 4-3-3; In Chelsea, he adopted 4-3-3; and at Real Madrid, he is going by the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Mourinho is adaptive, believes in flexibility, and makes optimum use of his players’ talents. His successor Carlo Ancelotti too was pragmatic enough to switch to a 4-1-2-1-2 pattern when the circumstances changed at the club, thereby earning Chelsea their Premier League and FA Cup Double in 2010.
AVB, on the other hand, has blindly adhered to 4-3-3 - a frame into which he was trying to forcefully fit his players, instead of altering the techniques to suit them. And when the players expressed their displeasure owing to disappointing results, the passive-aggressive coach retaliated by putting them on the bench.
The fact that Boas is only 34 has even made it worse for senior players like Lampard, Drogba and Cole to put up with their coach, whose knowledge of football is more theoretical than practical.
When the grudge against Boas was echoing through the dressing room walls, with veteran players griping about their coach who failed them, Roman Abromovich had to intervene. He questioned Boas’ decision of putting Lampard, Essien and Cole on the bench in their Champions League match against Napoli. Boas’ then knew his days in Chelsea are getting numbered.
CHELSEA AFTER AVB
Assistant Manager Roberto Di Matteo, who had a 6-year-career in Chelsea as a midfielder, has been named the new caretaker manager of Chelsea through till the end of the 2011-12 season. Who will take over from there? There are rumors about bringing Rafael Benitez, who once accused Abromovich of buying success with money, to Stamford Bridge. Benitez is also looking forward to his return to English soil, and is likely to accept such an offer. Torres, who has scored only three goals in the last 34 appearances, too might be happy to have his old manager back.
ALL THE ABROMOVICH'S MEN
The Czar of Chelsea can buy success, but not without help from his manager. The billionaire owner is known for his ‘sacking itch’. Like a kid on the beach who builds a sand castle only to destroy it later, Abromovich has sacked six managers ever since he acquired the club in 2003, despite the fact that not all of them were unsuccessful.
Claudio Ranieri: 2000-2004
Mourinho: 2004 - 2007
Avram Grant: 2007 - 2008 (8 months)
Luiz Felipe Scolari: 2008 - 2009 (8 months)
Carlo Ancelloti: 2009 - 2011
Andre Villas-Boas: 2011 - 2012 (8 months)
Some also say that the ‘Special One’ is likely to make a second coming. Or will it be Pep Guardiola – the current best manager in the world? Whoever it might be, The ‘Sword of Damocles’ is waiting at Stamford Bride for the next heir to the throne.