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Villas-Boas sleeps with the fishes

In the film The Godfather, there is a scene where a package is delivered to the Corleone household. Salvatore Tessio, a caporegime for the Corleone family, opens the package and reveals a fish wrapped in a bulletproof vest.

Santino Corleone asks “What the hell is this?”.

Peter Clemenza, another caporegime, answers: “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes”.

In a do-or-die round of 16 Champions League match played at Stamford Bridge against Italian opponents Napoli, Chelsea (led by certain senior players) delivered an emphatic message to former manager Andre Villas-Boas.

That message was clear and concise – when we want to play, we will play.

It was no coincidence that three of the four goals scored by Chelsea came from Didier Drogba (back to his imperious best), John “I bleed blue” Terry and Frank Lampard.

During his brief tenure at Chelsea, Andre Villas-Boas attempted to impose his vision and his style on a group of players whom he inherited (effectively) from his countryman Jose Mourinho. The spine of that team consisting of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech have all tasted domestic success and have been tantalisingly close to Champions League glory. What Villas-Boas received in return was a series of poor performances and a squad of players who did not seem interested in playing football.

Similar to Roy Hodgson’s equally brief stint at Liverpool at the start of the 2010-11 season, the Chelsea players literally refused to play for their manager or apparently listen to his instructions. It is interesting to note that both under Dalglish and Di Matteo, the immediate results following the sacking of the manager saw improved performances and a definite increase in the level of hunger and competitiveness by the Liverpool and Chelsea players.

John Terry was asked during the pre-match interview before the Napoli game about his thoughts on Fabio Capello losing his job as England manager, to which Terry responded with a borderline eulogy on how fantastic Capello. “Fabio backed me,” he said. “That comes from a relationship with myself and him; the relationship we built up. I stood for him on the football pitch, and he stood up for me off the pitch. I respect that. I respect him as a man and for what he did for me. Complete respect. Both ways.”

Tellingly, Terry was not as gushing with his praise for Andre Villas-Boas. “Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t seem to buy a win [under Villas-Boas],” he said. “Then we change managers and we get two in a row. I don’t know why that happens.”

I sympathise with both Villas-Boas and Hodgson as I feel they both got a raw deal. However, as an owner I guess it is easier to get rid of one individual as opposed to a team of players and for Abramovich it is never personal, just business.

As Salvatore Tessio says to Tom Hagen just before he is sent away to be killed “Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him”.


About Ticha Pfupajena

I'm beginning to get the sense that my career as a professional footballer may not happen. As a result, I'll try write about football and sports instead....


6 thoughts on “Villas-Boas sleeps with the fishes

  1. “it was only business”…imagine JZ telling Juju that.

    It is good to keep a core of players over a long period of time as empirical evidence would suggest that generally ensures success on the field. The trick is to get a coach with balls to marshal the troops and importantly bring one or two quality players to disrupt the status quo…

    Posted by Nkagi | 15/03/2012, 11:10
    • Even Fergie has shown that you need to mix young and old Nkagi. It is all about respect and the Chelsea old guard had none for AVB. You can try to marshall but without respect of players you are fighting losing battle.

      Posted by Ticha Pfupajena | 15/03/2012, 11:23
  2. All we do is win….I had a good feeling about this game. Thank God we won otherwise I would have had to hang my head in shame around this Man.U infested

    Posted by Gina | 15/03/2012, 11:49
  3. As much as I enjoyed the win last night, my sentimentality could not help pricking me with thoughts of Villas Boas watching the game and wondering to himself ‘how come those pensioners couldn’t play like that when I was in charge’? I can only surmise that when things started going bad and the manager seemed to have no way of stopping the rot the Chelsea old guard dropped their tools and commitment and went professionally AWOL – the same thing seemed to happen with Scolari. Honestly I don’t know if it is a lack of respect for a man who had the temerity to not shout how special he was, thus failing to instil a quiet reverence in the troops despite his success in shores on another front. Respect goes two ways and the players have to realise that this show of petulance has not just sullied this season (no matter the dramatics of last night or future nights) but themselves as well. Any manager worth his million pound pay should not hesitate to court martial the whole lot of them, rebuild the team in his image ( a la Ferguson and Mourinho) and create his own special team, the man is gone but the players still think they are special even though they have failed to get their hands on the holy grail that is the Champions League and should not count past league FA Cup and Carling Cup successes as claims to medals of honour.

    Posted by Kwaku Konadu-Yiadom | 15/03/2012, 13:24
  4. The results show that AVB was missing something. These guys at Chelsea know what they want and you cannot treat them like kids.

    Good knews about the Batman, back to his best for the derby!

    Posted by Kule | 15/03/2012, 23:15
  5. well written xoxo

    Posted by wifey | 19/03/2012, 15:40

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Ticha Pfupajena

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