Yesterday we saw the first official interview with our new manager from the club’s new training ground (which looks very swanky indeed) Watching these interviews it seems that we have acquired a manager who is almost the exact opposite to Redknapp in terms of his public persona, tactical awareness and eloquent nature.
Firstly then a word on Redknapp. Redknapp’s managerial skills were his ability for man-management, as shown by his unwavering statements that every player is “t’riffic” even long-forgotten squad players such as Bentley or Dos Santos. Also his tactical freedom, which produced generally positive, free-flowing football if sometimes a lack of an alternative model, such as when Lennon was injured in the early part of 2012. Overall Redknapp’s contribution to the club was excellent, but many Spurs fans were left feeling that the club might need a more tactically- astute manager if they want to compete at the top of the league and disrupt the monopoly of the big clubs. Indeed Redknapp’s failure to finish above Arsenal last season, who arguably had a weaker squad and were hampered by European commitments and injuries to key players, probably cost him his job.
So now on to the new man, once hailed as the new “Special One” although not as frequently since his not-so special stint at Chelsea. Whilst Villas-Boas had no meaningful playing career his exposure to top class managers and high-level football is impressive. At the age of 16 when most teenagers would be content on chasing girls and scraping through school exams Villas-Boas was being appointed to Sir Bobby Robson’s observation department at Porto. He then went on to work under Mourinho as assistant coach at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. Another interesting part of his career was taking the job as the British Virgin Islands manager in 1998-99 at the age of just 21, where he had to lie about his young age to ensure the respect of his players. If only he could have used the same trick when he became manager at Chelsea, where he seemed to be unable to win over the senior members of the John Terry-influenced dressing room because of his young age, coupled with the players’ unwillingness to adopt his highly scientific and studious approach to the game.
So how will Villas-Boas fit in at Spurs? The younger and less egotistical squad should be easier to mould to his ideas on how to play the game. Another advantage is the players at the club have a natural fit to his preferred quick, pressing and attacking 4-3-3 game plan. It remains to be seen how luxury players who don’t offer this hard running approach such as Van Der Vaart will fall into his model, and whether the squad will be suited to rigid tactics and detailed game plans after four years of Harry’s more flexible “we’re gonna ‘av a go at them” style of play! The player’s willingness to adopt Villas-Boas’s highly-meticulous approach to management will be the key factor which could propel the club to challenge at the top of the table or alternatively lead them to lose the undoubted gains we have made as a club under Redknapp. Either way, with a new manager,exciting new signings and top-class players already at the club it’ll be another entertaining and unpredictable year for our team. Come on you Spurs!
By Mathew Pavli
Have something to tell us about this article?