Transition or crisis? I’m not sure to be honest – probably a bit of both. I think it is pretty evident that AVB is trying to facilitate a different type of football but it is also perfectly evident that he does not have the personnel to turn his ideas into a working reality. It’s like trying to perform open heart surgery with a knife and fork – risky even under perfect circumstances, but nigh on impossible without the correct tools.
I’ve always considered myself a fairly level headed supporter. I like AVB, I like how he has handled himself, I get what he is trying to do and I am prepared to give him the time to do it – however, I do think that a staged passage from what we have now to his ideal playing style is the only way to go. We should develop step by step, as and when the correct type of players are bought on board – not try and force square pegs in round holes – you do that and you get what we witnessed against Liverpool – confused players – AVB shouting instructions continually from the touchline, players caught in possession, errors & panic – need I go on?
As a man who studied under Jose, I also thought that Villas Boas would be more considered in the man management side of the job too. Mourinho once stated that he didn’t like players playing against their old clubs – he felt there was too much emotion involved for them to follow instructions. I didn’t necessarily agree with that but accepted that he did and at least had obviously thought about it. I’m not so sure Villas Boas has considered this issue as much as perhaps he should have.
Giving Torres 7 minutes against his former club was not only completely pointless – it was also humiliating. What exactly was he meant to do in 7 minutes? What does it tell Torres? At best the striker will be frustrated. AVB is an intelligent guy – he knew Torres would be under the spotlight in this game more than any other. Give him enough time to make a difference or just don’t bother playing him at all.
Putting Torres on with seven minutes to go said “I don’t trust you to play for 90 but I’m desperate”- way to go Andre! Just enough time for the Liverpool fans to really stick it to him.
I think a best it was a naive move and won’t have helped Torres in his continued indifferent spell with us. How a manager handles such a situation can make such a huge difference as we have witnessed before at the Bridge. Take Lampard for instance.
Last Friday I was lucky enough to be present at an interview with Frank Lampard and he spoke exactly on this very subject. He spoke of his father who had been a role model in his early years but it was Mourinho who had had the most impact on him at a senior level. He explained that the former Chelsea manager had made him believe that he wasn’t just another decent player – that he was a player capable of winning trophies – indeed that a player of his calibre should be winning trophies. He instilled a belief in him which turned him from a good player into a Champion. You can’t argue with that – if you look at those who won league titles under Mourinho, they were not necessarily the best players in the world – the point is that he made them feel as if they were. And here I think is where we have the issue with AVB.
To change a system so dramatically is a tough ask. To be able to even stand a chance you need to have the buy in of all those involved – he, for whatever reason, clearly does not have that – yet.
He needs players that can integrate into such a system and he needs current squad players to adapt, but in the mean time he needs to keep a relatively high winning ratio. I’d imagine that no one expects him to win the league, but now more than ever, we need to remain within that hallowed top four position at the end of the season – and that looks a big ask at the moment.
Financial fair play means that Champions League money is imperative; quality players too want to play at the highest level – and that’s before you even consider sponsors who want to see their products touted in the highest profile European competition there is.
With more teams having access to the kind of funds that allow them to compete for a top four finish, falling away could lead to years in the wilderness. It’s not a question of whether we fans are prepared for that – it’s whether Abramovich is prepared for that – he has not been known for his patience in the past has he? I don’t want to lose AVB but he needs to do something because at the moment we look like we’re going backwards whereas clubs like Arsenal & Liverpool are pulling themselves out of the mire. City and United look comfortable and Newcastle & Tottenham may have form for falling away, but, this year they may just doggedly hold on – and where does all that leave us? In a second class European trophy….if we’re lucky.
AVB is confident we can get back on track in December – has he looked at our fixtures? Seems to me he’s been at the Christmas spirit a bit early this year. If things don’t improve, he’ll be driving us to drink too.
Time for a more progressive rather than immediate approach to change I think – find our feet again and leave the experimentation for the training field until really fully drilled. Come on Chelsea!!