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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Villas-Boas chosen to take reigns at Chelsea


LONDON — Chelsea hired Andre Villas-Boas as its next manager on Wednesday, challenging the young Portuguese coach to land the one prize that eluded his mentor Jose Mourinho at the club — the Champions League.

News photo
Another Special One: Chelsea supporters are hoping new manager Andre Villas-Boas can have at least as much success as his mentor Jose Mourinho did at Stamford Bridge. AP

The 33-year-old Villas-Boas became the seventh manager in eight years under Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich after resigning as coach of Porto on Tuesday.

Villas-Boas, who has just two seasons of topflight managerial experience behind him, returns to the London club where he worked as a scout between 2004-07 under Mourinho, his fellow countryman and a coach to whom he is often compared.

Mourinho won two English league titles in his three years with Chelsea but never the Champions League, the competition that has obsessed Abramovich ever since the oligarch bought the club in 2003.

That will be the goal demanded of Villas-Boas, branded by Chelsea as "one of the most talented young managers in football today" and a man who will bring fresh dynamism to a team that has become stale in recent seasons.

"His ambition, drive and determination matches that of Chelsea and we are confident Andre's leadership of the team will result in greater successes in major domestic and European competitions," Chelsea said in a statement.

Villas-Boas succeeds Carlo Ancelotti as manager at Stamford Bridge following the Italian coach's sacking on the final day of last season, despite winning the Premier League-F.A. Cup double the previous year.

Villas-Boas will start work immediately on a reported contract of £5 million ($8 million) a year, with one of his first tasks to decide at what stage the team, featuring a number of aging stars, needs to be dismantled and rebuilt in his image.

He will be familiar with many of the current Chelsea players following his three years at Stamford Bridge during a trophy-laden period for the club.

"Andre will bring his coaching experience back to a club he is already very familiar with, having previously worked here for three years," the Chelsea statement read.

"He has always been highly regarded at Chelsea and everyone here looks forward to welcoming him back and working with him."

Villas-Boas' contract with Porto was terminated Tuesday after the Portuguese champions received payment of €15 million ($21.5 million) to trigger his release clause.

With Villas-Boas having never managed in the Champions League, the appointment could be seen as a risk. However, Villas-Boas is so highly rated that he has been dubbed by many as the "Mini-Mourinho," after the current Real Madrid coach who has been one of the most successful managers in Europe in recent years.

"Andre was the outstanding candidate for the job. He has already achieved much in a relatively short space of time," Chelsea said.

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