Andre Villas Boas (AVB) What Went Wrong? Did His Lack Of Playing Experience Make A Difference?

AVB has done some very good things and not so good things in his career. He values possession heavily (if he could be Barca he would). AVB often played a 433 or 4231 to control the midfield. Ball circulation, creating overloads and keeping the ball using every player if needed are all very important aspects of his style. In possession his wing backs push on and center backs split wider leaving room for the #6(defensive center mid) to sit just between the two but slightly higher. His wingers tuck inside leaving width to be made by the on coming wing backs etc. Classic possession oriented stuff. I’ve seen some of his training sessions and they were abstract and thinking sessions. That’s fine and I like training that makes players think but AVB was just to much of that for me. He had views of the game that were in my opinion interesting but he missed the obvious way to much. Before he got the axe, I think Liverpool scored like 5 goals or something against them. I was in disbelief watching especially his center backs. They were pushed high up the field and split wide in possession. Liverpool had great pace up top which exploited the slow spurs center backs time and time again. Brendan Rodgers drew Spurs into their half and “bam” hit them on the counter. No way Spurs could defend 50 yards behind their back three against Suarez and company. Rodgers secretly must have been wondering how AVB couldn’t see this. Possession didn’t matter to Rodgers in that game. It was about exploiting Spurs weaknesses. Possession literally means nothing if you don’t score and leave yourself open to endless counters. Here is the real point. AVB didn’t see the most obvious thing wrong with his side. Slow center backs holding a high line against speed. That’s it. As I player I was slow and played every position in the back. I played against top players at many levels but nothing like the EPL. I personally know its impossible to mark fast players with 50 yards of space behind you. Try it for a few games as a player and you will never forget the lesson. Even with a keeper that covers ground Its still to hard. That’s really my point. AVB being a text book and UEFA License guy is missing some of those player experiences and it lets him down in obvious ways. In no way is that a knock against UEFA Licenses. I can go on about how Adebayor should have never been benched. How Defoe could have played way more. How to many guys on Spurs were just passers of the ball and as a team they had no real ideas how to break people down. They got found out and tactically it wasn’t working (player selection didn’t help either). Spurs style was to much east west and nothing north south that hurt people. Especially around the box they failed to create chances when they had the ball in the attacking third. There was no more bite in the squad. Even if they wanted to sit back and defend, could they counter with a Sandro up top? AVB I did respect but more so because he is a student of the game. I will always respect a hard working person that is committed and dedicated. But it doesn’t make him capable. At Chelsea and Spurs I wasn’t impressed at all. I do think a person can be a high level top coach without having to much playing experience. Look at Mourinho. However in order to be that you really have to be “special”. Sherwood is now doing well with the squad at Spurs. Is Sherwood the long term answer? I’m not sure but I like the changes he made so far. Lets see how he evolves with the club and what he can build. It’s far to early for me to say he is the man for the long haul at Spurs. It’s funny to me when people say “this is the guy. Look how well he has done”. To do well in the moment is much different than to do well in the long term. That’s why Alex Ferguson is one of the best coaches ever in my mind. He has done well over decades not 3 months here or there. Arsene Wenger is another one that has consistently done well. Yes, Sherwood is doing great in this small tiny moment but remember that small moment will morph into a bigger moment. Than its summer transfer time and he needs to evolve the team. Then manage the new team through the new challenges, get rid of the old and bring in the new. In management there are certainly specialist and then there are guys that can do it all.

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