Comparison: Luis Enrique - André Villas-Boas

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First of all, some people here are implying that LE will be sacked. This is definitely not the case. The only way LE leaves is by his own accord. TDB, Baldini & Sabatini have constantly said they will not sack him.

It'll show a lot of cowardice and weakness to resign, but it won't be near as bad as Ranieri. He lost the squad, they were clearly not playing for him. It's the opposite here. The speculation behind all of this was hit on the head by Sabatini when he said that (verbatim), "Perhaps LE thinks he is the problem." I can agree with that if LE does choose to leave. Again, though, he does not seem like a quitter to me. It just doesn't fit his attitude that we've grown accustomed to. He's a hiker and biker, an ironman. He knows pressure and puts the supporters first. Perhaps this is where he might feel he has failed. That is the only way I can see him resigning after the season ends. I don't understand where this sudden disapproval is coming from. We've had low points all season long. Maybe those who said and accepted that "CL was never going to happen/never our real objective, 6th place is realistic at the end of the year" were actually full of crap and when the season is actually ending up that way, they really can't accept it after all.

Plus, it's not the first time talk of Luis Enrique's resignation has come up.

December 4, 2011, after our loss to Fiorentina: "You'd have to ask the players that [regarding if he will resign if we lost to Juve - ended up 1-1], probably without the microphone on, because on record they'll all say the same thing. If I feel that the players aren't following me anymore, then I will leave, but that is not what I see right now. I'm not here to stay gripped to the bench, I don't like to work for money. I am here because the club has faith in me, but if I see that the players do not follow my lead then I will act accordingly. But you'd have to ask them."

April 7, 2012, after our loss to Lecce: "I'm disappointed but have never considered resigning. I don't know where these rumours come from."

April 10, 2012: "The players are following me as they have previously. The day when I am aware that they are no longer with me then you won't see me here anymore. I'm not interested in these stories about my resignation. I won't quit so you can stop asking me this question."

So, with that being said, anything can happen, particularly with more recent quotes. AVB is the easy alternate. He is unemployed, young and our original choice for the job. I know the feeling, it's new and different so it must be better. It happens a lot. But if AVB was to come and struggle just as much or even worse than LE, will you be willing to eat your words? I have nothing against AVB, and will fully support him if he is our manager come whenever, summer 2012, but right now I fully support LE. In my opinion, he can only get better next season, especially with a proper summer training and more serious transfers (hopefully).


Luis Enrique:
Pretty straight forward here, 2008-2011 at Barca B, 2011-current at Roma. We know the story.

André Villas-Boas:
Managed the British Virgin Islands when he was 21, continued on to being a youth coach at Porto before becoming Mourinho's assistant when he joined Porto as manager. Mourinho took Villas-Boas with him to Chelsea and to Inter. In 2009, he was named Académica's new manager. His recent managerial history is well known and documented. I'm not sure if people know, but AVB had Chelsea's worst record in a decade. Just keep that in mind when comparing both manager's most recent seasons.

In terms of managerial experience, I have them fairly even to one another. Villas-Boas has considerably more coaching and managerial exposure behind him, but that is because he never played professional football. Luis Enrique has a smaller coaching background, but knows the ins and outs of top flight football and knows what it is like to be a player for a top club. In my opinion, this would give him the advantage in being able to relate to his players once he became a manager.


Luis Enrique:
Once again, we know the story here so I'll keep it brief. Determined, professional and poised from his playing days. Many of us love his ideals. He sees football one way and aims to please the supporters. He treats all the players well, as they often tell how great he is. The guy trains with the players and is probably in better shape than more players on our squad than we'd like to think. He preaches team first. These are things that everyone loved about Luis Enrique.

André Villas-Boas:
I won't claim to be an expert on Villas-Boas as a person, but there are certain things we can pull and relate to our own manager from what he says to the media. One thing that I like about the EPL is that these type of things are often well documented. Much like Luis Enrique, the guy has said that, "It's not just about winning, but winning with flair." Yes, that was AVB, not LE, making the statement. Next, however, is something completely opposite from something we would expect Luis Enrique to say. "The players don't have to back my project. As long as I have the owner's backing, we will continue forward." In Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to QPR with 2 men being sent off, he blamed the referees in a very Edy Reja type of way. I am not exaggerating; it resulted in a 20,000 pound fine. It is highly likely that his personality is influenced by Mourinho.

Here we can see some fundamental similarities in mentality; however, there are big differences in how the two handle themselves under pressure. LE has always said that it would be the club and its players first. He takes responsibility for every flaw, every Kjaer failed off-side, every miss-placed back pass. AVB has his own ideas. Some people will like him, while others won't. Like Mourinho, it seems it'll depend on the person whether or not they do. It has been stated by various footballing "experts" and the like, that although AVB has similarities with Mourinho, Mourinho is considered much better at man management. After looking into it a little bit, I can see where that statement comes from.


Luis Enrique:
Again, we know the story with our man. There is one tactic, one philosophy. If we're not winning then we'll attack even more. Send off our striker? Okaka on for Stekelenburg. Come at me.

André Villas-Boas:
Unlike Mourinho, AVB is considered a much more attack-minded manager. His base is a fluid 433, a 433 that is a lot more 433 than our own. His sides are known for their high pressing and extremely high defensive line. Ring a bell? His wingers were far more advanced than Mourinho's and wider than Ancelotti's (if you looked at his Chelsea 4321 as a 433, his would defend wide but come in while attacking). AVB's wingers also start wide, but much higher up the pitch. They then cut in to give scoring threats. Think Rossi, Jovetic, Giovinco, or Sturridge & Hulk in AVB's case. His other winger has generally been a more traditional winger (Mata, Varela). His midfield were a generic narrow 3, with one DM and 2 CM for the gamers out there. In general, his sides play a much quicker tempo than ours. They aim to get the ball up to wingers, who cut in and drag fullbacks with them, opening space for surging Perrottas.

Like our high line, AVB's (and anyone's) gives up fewer shots than other formations, but the quality of shots given up can be dangerous since they are often of the 1 on 1 variety. We all know what that feels like. People were asking why AVB's tactics weren't kicking in at Chelsea, considering when he made an instant impact at Porto. He admit that the rotation in his midfield while at Porto wasn't working out at Chelsea how he liked. Although, Fernando was usually the DM, Guarin & Moutinho often rotated with him since all three could play each of the three roles. When asked if he's had to change anything, he said that he found out in England that the flexible DM would unbalance his side. His original #6 (that's what he calls it) was MIkel, eventually he changed it to a more DDR/Busquets role type of player in Romeu, but the static role took a lot out of his attack. This change, and decrease in pressing (which AVB decided to do during his 2-1 win over City), led to less passing and less possession. Overall, a lot less control over the match - this is what was important to Villas-Boas. Not necessarily possession. "In Portugal we have this idea of match control based on ball circulation. That's what we in Portugal want to achieve in our football, top sides dominate with possession, but also push the opponent back to their area. In English football pre-Wenger, they tell you to control the match in the opposite way without possession and through direct football. Controlling possession has become a reference point for top clubs, but that is because they have higher quality players than others, so it would be wrong not to take advantage of their skills."

An important aspect to AVB is his ability to find weaknesses in his opponents to exploit. Until 2009, he did just that for Mourinho. He's also much more open to change and variety in order to get the results. Or you could read it in a way that he's willing to change when he's under pressure.

Point is, right now LE is the better man for the job in my mind. AVB will be starting from scratch, while LE will be in his second year with the squad and a year of Italian football under his belt. While AVB may clearly be better suited to Italian football, I still think Luis Enrique can learn and adapt. The players accept him. In the case of AVB, I'm afraid of him losing the squad like we've seen happen before with other managers. Both have similarities and differences in their philosophies and tactics. They both like to attack, but do it differently. AVB is much more open to change, but I wouldn't go on to say he's a tinkerman. He eventually changed to a 4231 with Mata centrally, for example. In the end, however, the results never came.


For me, the most important thing is having the players behind you. You can have the greatest tactic in the world but if the players don't care then it will be ineffective. While I like AVB's tactics, I don't feel that a manager with two or three failed tactics is any better than one who has one failed tactic. It almost makes me feel like AVB wanted to keep his job so he changed out of sheer desperation.

Don't get me wrong, there are some things about Luis Enrique that I really do not like, but I would much rather continue with him and complete his contract than restart this "project" again.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who took the time to read this. I know I wrote too much, for that I apologize. At the very least let me know if it was useless for me to even bother doing this in the first place. It'll save me trouble in the future.

I love you all. Daje Roma.

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