Andre Villas-Boas‘ was supposed to lead Tottenham Hotspur to glory in 2013-14 but he may not keep his job long enough to make it happen.
Spurs manager Villas-Boas’ is feeling the heat after Sunday’s humbling defeat at Manchester City worsened existing negativity between the him and the club. The Mail reports Villas-Boas’ job is already on the line — just three months and 12 Premier League games into the season.
“Andre Villas-Boas is under mounting boardroom pressure following Tottenham’s 6-0 mauling at Manchester City on Sunday,” the report says.
“Sportsmail can also reveal that some of the manager’s shell-shocked players are furious with him for saying they should be ashamed of their performance.
“Tottenham spent £107 million [$173.2 million] last summer in an attempt to win their first league title since 1961 but after four defeats they appear to have blown their chance already.
“There have been repeated clashes behind the scenes over transfer policy and Villas-Boas replacing the club’s attacking approach with more cautious tactics.”
Villas-Boas, 36, is struggling to build on last season’s debut campaign (as Tottenham boss), which saw Spurs finish fifth in the Premier League and the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League. The project he was hired to manage took a turn in June when Spurs hired Franco Baldini as technical director (in charge of scouting and transfer policy).
Baldini sanctioned the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a club record £78 million ($123 million) and oversaw a recruitment drive, in which Tottenham bought seven new players £107 million [$173.2 million] in an effort to strengthen the squad. But the new players are slowly adapting to life at the Premier League club, and Villas-Boas has yet to settle on a preferred starting lineup.
Spurs are having somewhat of a schizophrenic season as a result. On the one hand, they are ninth in the league standings, trailing leaders (and rivals) Arsenal by eight points. On the other hand, they are just four points out of second place. Villas Boas had fashioned the league’s stingiest defense before Sunday’s debacle, but Spurs’ shooting woes have made them the butt of jokes in recent weeks. They have scored just nine goals in 12 league games and haven’t scored in open play since their 2-0 win at Aston Villa on Oct 20.
On Monday, Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen downplayed reports of dressing-room discord but admitted Spurs were in disarray against City, according to the Guardian.
“If there’s a problem between the players and the manager? Absolutely not,” the Belgian said. “There are also no troubles between [individual] players. This [defeat] was painful. Also the way we lost. I’ve the feeling I want to play this game again.
“We even could have conceded more goals. This is a painful experience, but it’s just a snapshot. Not everything is lost. Not only the defence was to blame, the whole organisation wasn’t there. The manager tries to make the right choices. Sometimes the choices turn out to be good, sometimes not.”
Villas-Boas may or may not have problems with his players, and it’s unclear if Vertonghen is trying to keep a lid on the trouble. Neither Baldini nor Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy have discussed their relationship with the second-year manager, so we can only speculate about boardroom-level clashes.
There is, however, little debate that tension exists between Villas-Boas and Tottenham fans. He criticized them for not making enough noise during Spurs’ defeat of Hull City last month. Meanwhile, many have accused the Portuguese tactician of changing Spurs into a “boring” team, and the goal drought has sapped excitement from White Hart Lane.
Spurs fired the popular Harry Redknapp and replaced him with Villas-Boas in July 2012. They gave the young manager a three-year contract, hoping he could get the club back into the UEFA Champions League and mount a title challenge. Circumstances and key actors may have changed since then, but the targets remain the same. Tottenham won’t act as quickly as it did when it fired (fictional coach) Ted Lasso, but Villas-Boas could suffer a similar fate if his relationships with players, fans and his bosses disintegrate.
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