Friday, March 9, 2012
Amid the avalanche of press coverage of the Chelsea management fiasco this week was an article which, after pointing out the many weaknesses of Andre Villas-Boas, congratulated the late manager on his excellent manners, his honesty and his willingness to answer any and every press question.
This apparently endeared him to football writers as it was unlike the “gnomic responses delivered with a Clydeside sneer” which is apparently the usual fare for journalists covering Premier League games. Well, good on you Paul Lambert! His post-match mantra “the players have done brilliant for me”, “people forget how far we’ve come” and occasionally “two years ago we were playing Oldham” may indeed be gnomic, but are also totally positive and consistent.
As to the delivery: always Clydeside and never sneering. Now just who can that journalist have been thinking of?
Honesty is great in a manager, but the real honesty needs to be behind closed doors and addressed to the players, and they are the ones who need to listen. It is clear that, however much the press valued him, Villas-Boas never said anything to galvanise Torres, or to impress Lampard or Drogba. Occasionally when Norwich have been less than ordinary in the first half and come out on fire after half time, it would be great to know what was said to the players - but if it works, who cares? This week the Norwich players, manager and coaching staff are having to cope with a new feeling: three consecutive defeats. One thing is certain, there will be nothing but positivity coming out from Colney and plenty of positive thinking inside too.
Logic dictates that notwithstanding these defeats, it should be possible to reach the “safety” points margin over the next three games. But even when this is achieved, the gnomic remarks will no doubt continue!
The next home game against Wigan will not be easy for a range of reasons: both teams really need three points; played late on Sunday, everyone will know how other key results have gone; home games can bring more pressure on the team. The Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez, has had a really tough season but remains positive in public.
Villas-Boas could certainly have learned a lot from Martinez about remaining confident and dignified in defeat. Respected at Wigan because he turned down the chance to manage at a “big” club, Villa, Martinez is dedicated to remaining in the Premier League and playing good football. After the heroics of last season, he will be anxious to get another great escape under way.
It will be an intriguing game, and one that the boys in yellow and green led by their gnomic Clydesider should win.