Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Time for Chelsea to back Villas-Boas

Being a football manager must be a lonely job at times, but the role seems even worse if you are in the dugout at Stamford Bridge.

The manager’s position at Chelsea is something of a poisoned chalice, with a dressing room dominated by over-influential senior players and an impatient owner with a itchy trigger finger creating a perfect storm whereby manager after manager is whipped up on high before being flung unceremoniously to the floor.

In my opinion Carol Ancelotti should never have been sacked, he had led them to the double in 2010 but it was clear that the playing staff needed an overhaul. Time is a crucial requirement of this.

Sadly for the Blues it appears that the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba carry far too much influence as to the goings on at the club, going back to the days of Jose Mourinho.

It also seems that Roman Abramovich pays attention to what they are saying, with a succession of manager’s cut off and isolated when things go bad, with the players shielded from blame.

The same appears to be happening to Andre Villas-Boas, who bravely took on the dressing room clique against Napoli on Tuesday by leaving out Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole.

The 3-1 defeat has left them outsiders to progress in the Champions League betting  but will it have further ramifications? Namely supplying the players more ammunition to hurl in the manager’s direction and distract from their own inadequacies.

Now is the time for the senior management at the club to throw their weight behind the 34-year-old, after all they were willing to pay £13million for him last summer, why change their mind now?

By standing there and doing nothing it only undermines the Portuguese and weakens his power, giving the more disruptive players greater licence to dictate matters in the dressing room.

So what if they get their way? Who will be next? And how much will they cost? Chelsea need to stop this cycle of churning through managers and accept that an extremely successful generation of players moving on. It will be a painful but necessary exercise, and football scores will suffer, but it is one that will untimely bring rewards.

To do so requires a strong manager who is able to re-build the side. Sadly for Chelsea the ones calling the shots are a billionaire oligarch who demands instant and unrealistic success as well as over-paid prima donna players who are not ready to give up the power they wield behind the scenes.