The age of Andre
Gary Mabbutt told Sky Sports News that 34-year-old Andre Villas-Boas has a point to prove at Spurs.
Last Updated: 04/07/12 10:54am
Former defender Gary Mabbutt says new Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas will be desperate to prove he has put his Chelsea nightmare behind him at White Hart Lane.
Villas-Boas, 34, joins Spurs as Harry Redknapp's successor in a deal that runs until 2015. Read our story here.
The Portuguese was sacked as Chelsea boss in March less than a year into a three-year contract; the Blues subsequently went on to win an FA Cup and Champions League double.
"Personally, I think it's an excellent appointment and a very positive one and, of course, with the lads returning next Monday for pre-season training in preparation for the new season the timing could not have been better," reflected Mabbutt.
"People will say 'look at what happened at Chelsea last year' but if you go back 12 months, Villas Boas was probably the hottest property as a manager around. He'd just had a year at Porto - they won four titles and he was the youngest ever winner of a European competition as a manager - and so he was very much sought after.
"I'm sure he would not like to be reminded of his time at Chelsea because obviously it didn't go as he would have liked it to go but having said that, the fact that it didn't go well at Chelsea means that he has a huge point to prove; he'll want to come to White Hart Lane and make things work.
"The way that Villas-Boas sets his teams out, he plays very attractive football - that will sit very comfortably with the Spurs fans. The work that has been done over these last three years with Harry Redknapp and his backroom team, with Daniel Levy and the board all working together, it has elevated Tottenham to a different level.
"The platform is there for Villas-Boas to come in and realise his own ambitions - and also the ambitions of the club."
Cracks developed in Villas-Boas' Chelsea tenure last December as reports emerged he'd lost the dressing room after falling out with several senior players.
However, Mabbutt feels that Villas-Boas should be judged on what he achieves, not his age.
"He was a protégé of Sir Bobby Robson - it was actually Sir Bobby Robson who groomed Villas-Boas to be a coach. He then followed with Jose Mourinho, working with Chelsea and with Inter with him. Those people gave him the credibility - they realised he had a great future ahead of him as a coach.
"I don't think that coming into the job now at 34 years of age will be a problem. Yes, his age was mentioned last year at Chelsea a number of times but if he has got the ability, which I'm sure he has, and he wants to be the best; he will have learnt a lot from his time at Chelsea."
Those views were echoed by former England manager and Spurs midfielder Alan Mullery, who insists that Villas-Boas - who led Porto to the Portuguese title and the Europa League - stands up to scrutiny.
"You've got to look at the lad's record - and that's what he is in my mind, a lad; he had a very, very good record in Portugal - an excellent record," he said. "To go a season without losing a game was absolutely fantastic.
"He was given the Chelsea job; he was a young man, he came in for the big job, a difficult job. Let's get it right - there have been better managers than Villas-Boas who have got the sack at Chelsea.
"I was reading an article the other day which said that he'd learnt his lesson from that and he's looking forward to getting back into the management/coaching side and I think it's a very good move for Tottenham.
"He's a young man, he's learnt from that experience at Chelsea and he's got some very, very good players at Tottenham; basically they are a top-four side and they should be banging away now at winning something.
"I don't think there will be half as many characters in the dressing room [as at Chelsea]. They've got some very, very good players - believe me they've got some excellent players at Tottenham and I'm sure the chairman will end up giving Villas-Boas money to improve those players.
"Some of the players are exactly the same age as he is. I had a similar experience when I had my first managerial job at Brighton.
"I went there, they'd just missed out on promotion to the second division. I was talking to players that were my age. I found it extremely difficult for the first two or three months but the only thing was they were a very, very good side.
"Chelsea - winning the European Cup was fantastic for them, but in the league they've been pretty poor. With Villas-Boas there they didn't do as much as what they expected but I think he will be a success at Tottenham.
"I remember that when he first arrived at Chelsea, that Owen Coyle who had done coaching courses with him up in Scotland gave the guy so much praise - this was going to be a manager of the future, an excellent manager. But it didn't work out for him at Chelsea. I hope very much that it works out at Tottenham."
To hear more from Mullery, hit the video at the top of the screen.