He would have been better off in Portugal with Porto for another 18 months just learning his trade – but when Chelsea come calling it’s very difficult to say no.
Any manager, no matter how experienced, would have had trouble with Chelsea this year because they are an ageing side and there is lots of work to be done.
Players like John Terry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have big personalities and hold a lot of weight around the dressing room, so any manager going in there would have had a problem.
There is nothing that cannot be sorted on the training pitch with hard work and organisation, however. Villas-Boas has got Robert Di Matteo there with him – I don’t know how much power he has but I hope he’s given certain licence to influence things because he’s a decent coach.
I just think a more experienced manager would have handled it better. There are ways of losing players – it happens, it’s natural – but you have to deal with it the right way.
It seems Villas-Boas is a manager looking for friends and I’m not quite sure how many he’s got.
Of all of them, I think Lampard is the one who has been the most hard done by, because you can’t argue with what he’s done for the club. He hasn’t caused any problems off the pitch and he’s been magnificent on it and maybe Villas-Boas could’ve treated him a little differently. That’s his biggest mistake in my opinion.
And on the topic of Lampard, I think it’s a bit premature to be writing him off for Euro 2012. This will, in all likelihood, be Stuart Pearce’s one and only England squad so let’s not get carried away.
If Harry Redknapp gets the nod to take the team to the European championships, it wouldn’t surprise me if he brought Lampard back in because I know Harry’s a big fan of him.
And whether he is used as an impact player late on, or whether he starts games, he’ll weigh in with the goals. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s got one big tournament left in him.
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