AVB: I was behind Chelsea Champions League win – sour grapes?

Newly appointed Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas insists he deserves credit for Chelsea’s 2011/12 Champions League title win.

The Portuguese coach was unveiled this week of the new manager of Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg after being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur in December.

The 36-year-old first arrived in England in 2011 to take charge of the Blues at Stamford Bridge after an impressive year as manager at FC Porto in his homeland.

However, Villas-Boas was sacked after just eight months in charge in March 2012 and replaced by his assistant Roberto Di Matteo who went on to lead Chelsea to the Champions League final in Munich where they beat Bayern Munich on penalties to take the title.

Villas-Boas was eventually appointed as manager of Tottenham just months after Chelsea won the Champions League – he signed for Spurs in July 2012 and remained in charge of the reigns at White Hart Lane until December 2013 when he was sacked, despite recording the highest win percentage of any manager in club’s Premier League history.

There was no love lost between the former Blues boss and the Chelsea faithful at the Bridge when he was dismissed, especially between the Spurs manager and Jose Mourinho who returned to take charge of Chelsea last summer – the pair had been friends and former colleagues prior to the souring of the relationship in recent years.

“When I left Chelsea they went on to win the Champions League. You have to give the players credit, but it was me who constructed that team,” he stated.

“In my first year at Spurs, the team achieved its highest ever points total in the Premier League.”

I had discussed at the time of his dismissal from Tottenham this season whether he had been a touch unlucky in his career so far – especially with regard to his dismissal from Chelsea. Di Matteo remains a club legend (as player and coach) but few people have given him the credit he deserves for their Champions League win that term. However, I think he’s milking it a bit now – it’s been two years, Chelsea have moved on, I had expected he would have moved on too.

His comments now, so long after the fact of the matter, to me sound a little bitter and perhaps even ‘sour grapes’ – his statements here sound like that of a man trying to convince himself, prove himself more than anyone else.

Andre Villas-Boas is a very good coach who has perhaps been unlucky professionally but he has ample time to prove himself and get the credit he deserves, he doesn’t need to keep reminding people of what are essentially his personal failures, he needs to prove his ability with success on the pitch at Zenit.

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