As we move towards January, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas and his squad sit in sixth-place, looking ahead at competing teams, and struggling to keep up pace. With every blunder, more and more fans and critics begin to point fingers towards the man in charge of the team’s performances.
Following Tottenham’s 6-0 loss to Manchester City, Villas-Boas gave a verbal lashing to his players, questioning their performances and commitment. He also gave an emotionally charged rant in opposition to comments made by British businessman Alan Sugar. Neither comment went over well in the media and only served to further nudge the idea that the manager may not be the right fit for Tottenham.
Villas-Boas has already made questionable moves this season, having questioned the loyalty and support of Tottenham fans and publicly hinting at a widespread anti-AVB agenda within the Premiership.
In terms of Tottenham’s lack luster performances this season, it’s not for a scarcity of talent in the squad. With seven preseason transfers added to the club totaling over 107 million euros, the quality of players on the manager’s roster should not be a question.
The choices in personnel, however, have been rather suspect. For having paid such as hefty transfer total, Spurs don’t seem to have the right players playing in the right positions. Not only do players look slightly uncomfortable on the pitch, but they appear to be lacking determination.
For anyone who has been watching, it is obvious to see that Spurs have yet to even come close to reaching their full potential. It may understandably take time to mesh all of the new players. But, with all of that money spent, and the loss of Gareth Bale, Tottenham fans will be having high expectations and short tempers this season.
Already, some are beginning to question Andre Villas-Boas and his managerial style. The high defensive line that he prefers to play has left Spurs exposed at the back repeatedly this season. Just as well, Roberto Soldado has been ineffective this season and Villas-Boas has been unable to tailor his midfield to complement his style of play. He has also failed to act soon enough in matches when the team has looked flat and a substitution change was evidently needed.
For Villas-Boas, this situation must feel all too familiar to his time at Chelsea. In his six-month tenure at Stamford Bridge, he was also criticized for his managerial tactics and questionable public comments. Chelsea had spent heavily in the summer and Villas-Boas could not bring the side together to play in a way that pleased the fans or the owner.
Villas-Boas left Chelsea claiming the odds had been stacked against him and that he was never truly given a chance. However, now at Tottenham, the manager is finding himself in a similar predicament. Luckily for him, Spurs is a much more patient club than Chelsea. His position as manager is not quite yet on the line.
Personally, I’m not sure Villas-Boas has the style to succeed in the Premier League. No doubt he knows how to scout and sign quality players. His record has shown that throughout his career. However, when it comes to his ability to manage players, especially in terms of facilitating player growth and fostering a unified team environment, he has yet to prove that he has what it takes to cut it in the Premier League.