Villas-Boas v Scolari: How do Abramovich's two struggling bosses at Chelsea compare
You know results haven’t been going your way as Chelsea boss when you are compared with Luiz Felipe Scolari.
But that is the position Andre Villas-Boas finds himself in after his disastrous league form was coupled with another crushing defeat away at Napoli in the Champions League.
With it being just over three years since the Brazilian was sacked at Stamford Bridge, Sportsmail assesses Villas-Boas against ‘Big Phil’ to see how his record stacks up.
Under fire… and fired: Andre Villas-Boas (left) and Luiz Felipe Scolari
Strength of squad inherited
Since 2004 every Chelsea squad has had the strong spine of Petr Cech in goal, John Terry at the back, Frank Lampard in midfield and Didier Drogba in attack.
But Scolari was fortunate to have those key players at their peak, unlike Villas-Boas who has Lampard and Drogba past their best at nearly 34-years-old.
Out in the cold: Frank Lampard has been benched this season
The Brazilian was also fortunate to take on a side that had strength in depth. Ricardo Carvalho had a rock solid partnership with Terry, while Michael Ballack and Florent Malouda were then big names to have in the midfield.
Nicolas Anelka was also at his peak, making it one of Chelsea’s most impressive squads in recent years. Villas-Boas has not been so lucky, the squad left behind by Carlo Ancelotti was badly lacking in depth following a clear-out the previous summer. While it had quality, it lacked leadership overall and its confidence has been fragile this season.
Following some patchy results in the Premier League, Scolari was sacked after 25 games following a 0-0 draw at home to Hull. It left Chelsea in fourth place and 10 points behind league leaders Manchester United.
On the same amount of matches, Villas-Boas has six points less having won only two of his last 10 league games, and is struggling to even qualify for the Champions League – the worst performance by any manager in the Abramovich era.
Humbled: Napoli proved too strong for Chelsea on Tuesday
The two had identical records in the Champions League group stage with 11 points, but Scolari was dismissed before he could face Juventus in a last 16 clash.
In domestic cup competitions, Scolari made easy progress in the FA Cup, unlike Villas-Boas whose team were held at home to Birmingham in the fifth round at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian however did oversee a shock Carling Cup defeat at home to Burnley in the fourth round while Villas-Boas exited against Liverpool in the quarter-finals.
Villas-Boas cannot complain he hasn’t had funds to spend. The 34-year-old has splashed out over 80million trying to improve his squad but has so far found only one star performer in 29m midfielder Juan Mata.
Gary Cahill still needs time to find his feet, while Oriol Romeu has shown promise but still looks raw. Romelu Lukaku (18m) looks far from ready at 18-years-old while Raul Meireles has been hit-and-miss since joining from Liverpool.
Bright future: Juan Mata has been a huge success at Chelsea
Villas-Boas has had a relatively weak squad given to him, but he has spent too much money on potential rather than existing quality which the team would have benefited more from. To make matters worse, experienced duo Alex and Anelka were moved on in January.
Scolari was more prudent (for a Chelsea boss) but one dimensional in signing mainly his old buddies from his days as Portugal manager. Jose Bosingwa (16.2m) and Deco (7.9m) came in to play a big enough role but winter loan signing Ricardo Quaresma proved to be a flop.
The former Brazil manager was handy at moving on dead wood though, dispensing of fringe players Wayne Bridge, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Tal Ben Haim, Khalid Boulahrouz, Steve Sidwell and Hernan Crespo. Despite his dismissal none were sorely missed.
Influence: Didier Drogba
‘When Scolari started blaming individuals, then that was bad.’ Those were the words spoken by Drogba shortly after the 63-year-old was sacked and he wasn’t the only one with Terry also hinting at a divided dressing room.
Players were unhappy with the Brazilian’s man-management style which seemed to backfire. Lampard also claimed that by the end of his reign the players lost the feeling of being able to win every week.
Villas-Boas’ approach of ‘my way or the highway’ has also had negative effects. Before their inevitable January departures, Alex and Anelka were banished from any first-team involvement a month earlier and team morale hasn’t improved since.
Senior players such as Lampard and Cole have been unhappy at being left out of the side, while Drogba’s half-time team talk in front of the TV cameras against Birmingham started debates about who was running the show at Stamford Bridge.
There was high expectations of Scolari who had knocked England out of three successive international tournaments with Brazil and Portugal, in doing so displaying some fine football in the process.
Unfortunately he couldn’t get a side used to playing an efficient winning style under Jose Mourinho to adapt to a new philosophy despite a promising start.
A 1-0 home defeat against Liverpool in October 2008 ended an 86-match unbeaten league run at Stamford Bridge and a month later another followed with a 2-1 reverse against Arsenal.
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Support: Chelsea fans gather in Naples before the match
There was more curiosity surrounding Villas-Boas, with much of the hype surrounding how he had been the man giving out DVDs to players in the Jose Mourinho days.
Despite his knowledge of the game, his inexperience at the very top has been shown throughout the season. For example, high defensive lines have cost his side many goals, and points with them.
Naturally having led Chelsea to their worst season as it stands under Abramovich, there are many fans who have had enough, but there are supporters who argue the Portuguese boss needs more time to adapt. He may have a worse record than Scolari, but while there are boos at the final whistle there are currently no ‘Villas-Boas out’ banners.
On paper Scolari comes out on top. He undeniably performed better than Villas-Boas during the same amount of games and was less rash in the transfer market – being able to get more for his money.
But the Brazilian should have done better with a Blues squad at its peak. Given his lofty reputation as a manager he should have been able to reverse the terminal slide in results that kicked in three months into his reign. Most managers sacked in a season haven’t been given enough time but there was a sense the 63-year-old had underperformed.
Villas-Boas has made mistakes, but did anyone expect anything less from such an inexperienced and young manager who had taken control of a Chelsea squad at its weakest for many years
Too much money has been spent on the future and he has mis-read the power of the big names in the dressing room but there have been other factors that have gone against him too.
The emergence of Tottenham and Manchester City has made reaching the top four not as easy as it was three years ago and the overall competition has made it harder for the Portuguese manager to assert authority as he struggles to compete.
The 34-year-old would have learned plenty of lessons this season which would make him undoubtedly a better manager if he is still at Stamford Bridge next term.
After all there have been flashes of his tactical nous. Chelsea ended Manchester City’s unbeaten start for instance after going a goal down to eventually win 2-1.
Given the cards he has been dealt compared to Scolari, he deserves to be given more time to build a squad. But if there is one club where he probably won’t get it – it’s Chelsea.