Ashley Cole reveals truth behind Chelsea sacking Andre Villas-Boas

Andre Villas Boas 2

Andre Villas-Boas lasted just nine months as head coach of Premier League side Chelsea.

Villas-Boas was appointed Chelsea head coach in the summer of 2011, staying in charge until March 2012.

The Portuguese coach oversaw 40 games in charge of the Blues, winning 19 and losing 10, and alienating a number of senior members of the playing squad. The likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole were routinely left out of first-team line-ups, and, having dropped out of the top four of the Premier League after a 2-0 defeat to Everton in February 2012, the now 37-year-old organised an inquest which saw these senior members question Villas-Boas in front of club owner Roman Abramovich.

Three days later, Chelsea lost 3-1 to Napoli in the Champions League knock-out stages, with Lampard, Essien and Cole all left out of the starting XI, and, in the aftermath, Abramovich requested to hear reasons for their exclusion from the squad. A 1-0 defeat to West Brom at the start of March was the result which saw Villas-Boas lose his job, with Roberto Di Matteo taking charge on a interim basis - and leading the club to Champions League glory.

The former Porto manager was back in the Premier League just four months after his dismissal from Stamford Bridge, signing a three-year deal with the Blues' London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and he stayed with the club for a season-and-a-half, leaving his post in December 2013 after a run of poor results. Following his departure from White Hart Lane, Villas-Boas took charge of Russian Premier League side Zenit Saint Petersburg, leading them to the group stages of this season’s Champions League.

His management at Chelsea was often criticised for the failure to include the senior - and well-loved - members of the playing squad in his matchday selections, and it has been reported that it was the senior figures who used their status in West London to have Villas-Boas sacked. People have denied such claims, but Ashley Cole - one of the senior figures in the dressing room - has admitted that a selection of players didn’t want to work for the Portuguese coach - something that changed immediately upon Di Matteo’s appointment.

Speaking to ESPN, 33-year-old Cole - who now plays for Roma having left Chelsea in the summer - said: “There were some players who didn't want to work hard for Villas-Boas.

“But as soon as [Roberto] Di Matteo arrived, that all changed.”

It is a damning indictment of the Chelsea squad if they did have a part to play in Villas-Boas’s departure from Stamford Bridge, but their complaints were rewarded when the Champions League trophy was lifted in the summer of 2012.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch