Villas-Boas talks Barça, progress at Chelsea
Andre Villas-Boas has challenged Chelsea's players to fulfil his dream of winning the UEFA Champions League with the same flair as current holders Barcelona.
Villas-Boas, whose side host Genk in the Champions League tomorrow, is a confirmed admirer of Barcelona's flowing football and convinced Blues owner Roman Abramovich to hire him after building a free-scoring FC Porto team along similar lines to the Spanish champions.
Abramovich has always craved success with style but none of the previous six managers employed during the Russian billionaire's time at Stamford Bridge have been able to deliver on that desire.
Even Jose Mourinho's impressive reign fell short on the style front, but Villas-Boas - who learnt his trade as a member of Mourinho's backroom staff - has grander ideas. He believes it is possible to fuse a winning mentality with commitment to the beautiful game, and there are signs his philosophy is starting to reap its rewards.
"When I became a manager I got excited with an idea for how football should be played," he said today. "Barcelona has set new standards for the way the game is played. They are the benchmark for modern football. Their success is a combination of events that has provided this team with the ability to play so well.
"It is the amount of talent that has come through the youth team and a manager who defends the club's philosophy so well. I'm not sure it can be this way forever because there will be some years of talent and some of drought, but now they are setting new standards in the game."
Confidence is growing
After a slow start under Villas-Boas, the Blues have swept aside their last three opponents in the Premier League, scoring 12 goals in the process. Villas-Boas believes Chelsea's collection of highly-paid superstars are willing to buy into his system, which encourages individual expression within a disciplined structure, and he expects even more from them as his ideas take hold.
"The most important thing has been able to progress from the first three games when we were not fluent in what we want to achieve," Villas-Boas said. "The confidence of the players has helped us become more fluent since the Sunderland game.
"In the match routines players are relating better with each other. It is not for me to say how well we are playing. I can analyse my own team but I'm not sure this is new. It is player talent expressed through the team. The players all want to get back to winning titles, when the focus is on that people are more receptive to receiving ideas."
Trophies most important
Villas-Boas, who turned 34 earlier this week, has been a manager for less than three seasons but he has already acknowledged his desire for a career lasting no more than ten years.
By the time he bows out he wants to be recognised as a champion of the game's purist principles, but he knows the entertainment provided by his teams will count for nothing unless he delivers the trophies to go with it.
"I want to have a career I can be proud of whenever it finishes. The time will come when I feel proud of my achievements and then I will leave my position," he said. "The trophy cabinet is the most visible thing. The way you achieve it is something important and I respect that, but I am expected to win major trophies at this club and I won't forgive myself if I miss that opportunity."