Villas-Boas: I'm not a one-man show

Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas says he should not be labelled as the new Jose Mourinho, even if he emulates his mentor by winning the UEFA Europa League final against Sporting Braga on Wednesday.

Villas-Boas has earned favourable comparisons with Mourinho during a record-breaking first season in charge of Porto. And he will garner more rave reviews if he leads the Portuguese club to a repeat of the 2003 UEFA Cup triumph masterminded by Mourinho during his time at the Dragao Stadium.

The 33-year-old has intimate knowledge of Mourinho's methodology after spending eight years working as his compatriot's opposition scout at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. But Villas-Boas believes the comparisons end there.

In contrast to Real Madrid coach Mourinho's dramatic displays, the humble Villas-Boas deflects the credit for his achievements onto his players. "People focus a lot on the work of the manager and I don't see it that way," Villas-Boas said. "I don't see myself as a one-man show. Football isn't won by one person but by collective competence. It is the quality of the players and the structure of the club.

"I just want to make my players give their most. I give them room to express themselves because that's how they develop. I promote their talent and let them make their own decisions. There are no dictators. We don't see the game as a tactical game. If you are a dictator of choices, players won't be able to explore their possibilities to the full. You have to be able to free them."

I'm very happy in Porto. It is my own club and I don't think it is easy to leave it.
Andre Villas-Boas, Porto manager

Coaching ambitions
Villas-Boas is reportedly no longer on close terms with Mourinho after deciding to leave his coaching staff to become a manager himself at Academica in 2009. He plays down talk of a rift but pointedly ignored the chance to praise Mourinho for helping his development.

"I spent seven years with Jose and we were part of a very good technical staff. We went to top-class clubs at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan and worked with top players who gave us such a tremendous volume of success," Villa-Boas said.

"The position I had with him was a position he needed some help on. I understood my role from the beginning and tried to fulfil it with maximum professionalism. When I left him, he took on another person who I hope gives him the same level.

"Regarding why I left Inter, it was because I wanted the extra edge to fulfil my ambitions as a professional coach, so I took the risk to find my own job at Academica."

Porto go into Wednesday's match at Dublin's Aviva Stadium as heavy favourites after becoming only the second Portuguese team to win the league without losing a match. However, Villas-Boas has no intention of underestimating a Braga team who have shocked several big clubs this season.

"I'm not interested in saying who is favourites and who isn't. It won't help us. Braga comes to the final on merit," he said. "Braga has played against Celtic, Sevilla, Liverpool, Benfica and Arsenal. These are big European teams that lost to Braga. That shows they have done remarkable work so we need to focus.

"But we will be fighting for it, we really want to win. We will give our utmost and we are confident we will achieve a good result."

If Porto do overcome their near neighbours in the first all-Portuguese European final, Villas-Boas will become the youngest coach to win a major UEFA trophy. It is hardly surprising he is linked with jobs at Chelsea, Juventus and Roma, but he says his future lies at Porto for the moment.

"I'm very happy in Porto," he said. "It's the city I grew up in. It is my own club and I don't think it is easy to leave it."