My attention was recently drawn to the Portuguese league and FC Porto in particular, the reasoning being that they are currently being managed 33 year old Andre Villas Boas – Jose Mourinho’s previous right hand man at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. It looks like that Mourinho’s former assistant has picked up Jose’s winning mentality, already securing his first trophy with a 2-0 defeat of current Portuguese champions Benfica in the seasons opening match – The Supercup.
Porto have then gone on to win their first 4 leagues taking them clear at the top whilst rivals are left toiling. Benfica have endured a nightmare start, which was inevitable after selling stars Di Maria and Ramieres the champions were always going to struggle. Credit should also be given to the 33 year old manager for making a couple of astute signings in the shape of Joao Moutinho and Nicolas Otamendi, Mouthino was a player who was forever linked to the English Premier League yet the move never materialised.
Incidentally Andre Villas Boas started his career at Porto under the guidance of the late Bobby Robson who was a big influence on the young coach “Bobby Robson was very important to me in the beginning when I first came to this stadium as a coach at the age of 17,” said Villas Boas. Once Jose Mourinho took over at Porto in 2003 Villas Boas was promoted to assistant coach and for the next 7 years the pair worked together across Europe, achieving huge amounts of success with Chelsea and Inter Milan.
At the start of last season Villas-Boas left Mourinho and Inter Milan and took charge of Portuguese strugglers Academica, Villas-Boas led them to a respectable position and the semi-finals of the cup where they would succumb to Porto. It wasn’t just the results that had improved for Academica it was the attractive attacking style of play which won plaudits from the press, something his mentor Mourinho isn’t known for.
It’s difficult to avoid certain clichés when thinking of Villas Boas and Mourinho, something which Villas Boas wants to avoid “I am not a clone of anyone,” he said recently. His Porto team seem to be on the march and if you want to watch attractive expansive football then you should definitely catch Porto in action this season. It makes me wonder, will Villas Boas actually turn out to be The Special One?