Tottenham’s Villas-Boas lifts lid on broken Mourinho friendship
Tottenham's Andre Villas-Boas lifts lid on broken Jose Mourinho friendship and what he has learned from the Chelsea manager
Andre Villas-Boas has lifted the lid on his fragmented relationship with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as the pair prepare to face-off for the first time since the Tottenham boss left Inter Milan.
The Spurs manager has overseen an impressive start to the season which has left the north London side in second position after an outlay of over £90m on seven summer signings.
Villas-Boas has fought hard to emerge from the shadow of Mourinho following his decision to end his working relationship with the Special One and forge his own path in club management over five years ago.
And ahead of the first-ever meeting between the master and his apprentice at White Hart Lane on Saturday, the Tottenham manager revealed the pair don’t share the same relationship any more.
“We had a great professional and personal relationship that we don’t have now,” said Villas-Boas.
When pressed further for an explanation on why the Premier League’s Portuguese bosses are no longer chums, he added: “I don’t think you need an explanation on friendships and personal relationships.
“Our relationship broke down. We have a mutual respect for each other. We understand that what we came through cannot just disappear – but it’s not like it was.”
The 35-year-old was charged with accumulating information and scouting opponents during his time working as Mourinho’s subordinate at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
However, ambitious Villas-Boas felt he had much more to offer and wanted further involvement at Inter as he eyed a potential assistant manager role at i Nerazzurri – but Mourinho was happy with his coaching set-up.
It left Villas-Boas with no alternative. Although the Porto-born manager continued his role at the San Siro until the end of the 2008-09 campaign, he eventually embarked on his own club management career, taking over Portuguese Primeira Liga minnows Academica.
So, in a twist of fate, Mourinho inadvertently set Villas-Boas on his current path of success. But the Tottenham manager is adamant he always intended to break free and be a head coach at some stage in his career.
“I always had that ambition to coach anyway,” he said. “But what it did do is make me anticipate the beginning of my career.
“I even took that time through with Jose until the end of the contract at Inter Milan as it was opening between us because there was a stage when Jose didn’t know if he wanted to continue there.
“By that time, I had started to look for a club which came in the summer of 2009.”
Working under Mourinho gave Villas-Boas a fantastic opportunity to observe how one of Europe’s most successful managers operated on a day-to-day basis.
But whilst the Tottenham manager admits there are certain Mourinho traits which he has implemented at his former clubs and Spurs, the Premier League’s youngest boss is keen to stress that he is very much his own man – despite the “apprentice” tag.
“There’s always an influence because when you work so close together for seven years, you learn methods,” he said.
“Jose had so much success, you want to get to know his methods and apply them as well. There’s probably lots of things in my organisation that I do similar to him, of course.”
But when questioned further about potential similarities, he added: “I think there are things that we do that are dramatically different but that’s more for you to investigate and write about…”
Willian’s summer move to Chelsea put an obvious strain on the relationship between Mourinho and Villas-Boas after the west London side scuppered their rivals’ efforts to sign the midfielder.
The 25-year-old appeared set to seal a switch to Tottenham from Anzhi Makhachkala in August following a successful medical before Mourinho prised Willian from under the noses of Spurs, coughing up £30m for the playmaker.
But Villas-Boas holds no grudges.
“Competition for players is aggressive and everybody strives to do the best deal possible,” he said.
In that case, will the pair share a post-match glass of wine? No, says Villas-Boas.
The Spurs boss has to jet off to his hometown Porto for the club’s 120th anniversary festivities where the Tottenham boss – and not Mourinho – is the guest of honour.
That’ll help repair the relationship between the Premier League’s modern-day Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, then.