Andre Villas-Boas was feeling it coming in the air last night, and there was no surprise that after his seventh league defeat of the season, a deserved 1-0 at the Midlands against West Brom, Roman Abramovich chose to terminate the contract and sack the Portuguese manager after less than 10 months at the helm.
It never surprised anyone when Abramovich sacks a manager – Jose Mourinho, Caludio Ranieri, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and now Villas-Boas, who at 34, was the youngest manager this season in the Premier League. His 50% winning rate was the lowest for a Chelsea manager since Glenn Hoddle’s three seasons between 1993-1996.
Chelsea released the following statement this afternoon regarding the termination of AVB – Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today. 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. With immediate effect Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed first team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Roberto Di Matteo played for Chelsea between 1996-2002, winning 2 FA Cups and the Cup Winners’ Cup during his time with club. His biggest challenge will be picking up the team, apparently torn apart by the entire AVB experience, and try to salvage a fourth place finish, which looks like a very difficult mission at the moment. Chelsea have never finished below fourth since Abramovich took ownership of the club.
Losing the dressing room was the final straw, but Abramovich wanted to see what the Champions League matches with Napoli and the FA Cup might provide. After a 3-1 loss at Napoli and a embarssing 1-1 draw against Birmingham, the next slip up was going to be the one to earn Villas-Boas the sign towards the unemployment line.
In hindsight, picking a manager who had only one season with a big club, Porto, no matter how successful and the titles and the undefeated, was a huge mistake. Villas-Boas tried to change too much with too little, as his acquisition seemed to be Chelsea’s big summer move. Juan Mata arrived shortly after, but too many things didn’t work out on a team during a changing shift.
Didier Drogba getting older, the Frank Lampard rift, John Terry scandal and Fernando Torres, oh Fernando Torres. Maybe Villas-Boas never really had a chance.