EPL

On this day in 2012: Andre Villas-Boas sacked by Chelsea

By Sports Desk March 04, 2024

On this day in 2012, Andre Villas-Boas left Chelsea as former midfielder Roberto Di Matteo was appointed interim manager until the end of the season.

Villas-Boas, 34, lost the job he had held for just eight months less than 24 hours after a 1-0 defeat at West Brom which left the Blues sitting in fifth place in the Premier League table and having won just five of their previous 15 games in all competitions.

The Portuguese had been recruited at great expense – around £13.3million – as Carlo Ancelotti’s replacement by then Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in June 2011 and handed the task of overhauling an ageing squad after winning a remarkable quadruple with Porto.

However, he quickly found himself under pressure and reports of dressing room unrest coupled with faltering form prompted the club to act ahead of an FA Cup trip to Birmingham and an impending Champions League showdown with Napoli.

In a statement, they said: “Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season.

“The club is still competing in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts.

“With that in mind, we felt our only option was to make a change at this time.”

Assistant Di Matteo was placed in temporary charge and made rather a good fist of it, at least initially.

The Italian guided Chelsea to FA Cup final victory over Liverpool and then famously at the Allianz Arena, a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final as Didier Drogba, whose late header had taken the game to extra time, converted the decisive spot-kick to complete Abramovich’s quest for European glory.

Di Matteo’s reward was a permanent two-year contract, although his reign too proved short-lived when he was sacked after just five months at the helm.

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