LONDON (AFP) – The chief executive of the League Managers’ Association on Monday criticised Chelsea for sacking Andre Villas-Boas, warning that the London club is becoming an “embarrassment” to the Premier League.
Richard Bevan said that Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Ambramovich may have money behind him but he had not yet discovered the secret of building a successful football club.
Villas-Boas was sacked on Sunday, a day after his side suffered a 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion. The loss was the latest in a string of league defeats that has left Chelsea off the pace in the race for a Champion’s League spot next season.
“Looking for what is an eighth manager in nine years is a serious embarrassment to the owner, the club, the fans and the league,” Bevan told BBC radio, adding that Villas-Boas was “very disappointed, frustrated (and) saddened” by his dismissal.
The 34-year-old has been replaced by Roberto Di Matteo, who now has the job of preparing his players for an FA Cup fifth round replay against Birmingham and a last 16 Champions League return leg against Napoli, in which they are trailing 3-1.
Villas-Boas’ departure comes less than a season after he was appointed, following domestic and European success with Porto. But he found the atmosphere of the British club different, particularly relations with senior stars like Frank Lampard.
A woeful sequence of results — just one win in their last seven matches and only three from their last 12 in the League — forced Abramovich to act.
With Villas-Boas now the sixth manager to be sacked since the Russian bought the club in 2003, Bevan said the disruption could hamper Chelsea’s chances of future success.
“Players need to know that the manager’s strategy and his job is not in question, there’s a clear remit,” he said.
“You get success if you get time, and stability will come from that. Otherwise it’s very difficult for a manager like Andre to impose his philosophy and build a team.”
Bevan said Villas-Boas should have been given more time but he could hardly be considered to have failed, with Chelsea still in the latter stages of the Champions League and the FA Cup as well as fifth in the league.
“If you want success, you must look at the longer term,” he added.