Zenit Job Offers Villas-Boas A Chance at Redemption
Published: March 26, 2014 (Issue # 1803)
Coaching Russian title challengers, Zenit St. Petersburg offers Andre Villas-Boas a chance at redeeming his reputation after it was tarnished by unsuccessful spells with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, former Arsenal and England defender Nigel Winterburn has told R-Sport.
Villas-Boas, 36, was unveiled as Zenit coach Mar. 20, replacing Italian Luciano Spalletti, fired earlier this month after a poor run of form. The Portuguese boss won his first game in charge Monday evening 2-1 in a Russian Premier League clash against Krylya Sovetov Samara at home.
With Zenit out of the Champions League after a 5-4 aggregate loss to Borussia Dortmund, Villas-Boas has said his first priority is to take Zenit, who are second in the RPL, to their first Russian title for two years.
“I think Villas-Boas now, he really needs a club that will allow him to work in the way that he wants to work and probably give him two, even three years to establish himself back as a good young coach, because his reputation has been damaged,” Winterburn told R-Sport in a recent interview.
Villas-Boas won the Portuguese title and Europa League in 2011 with a Porto side that included Brazilian striker Hulk, now a key player for Zenit. After leaving Porto, he lasted just eight months as Chelsea manager before a 17-month stint with Spurs, leaving “by mutual consent” in December with the London side a lowly seventh in the league.
“He came with a very, very high reputation to England and I think that’s been damaged with how quickly he was fired by both clubs,” Winterburn said. “You can say he was fired unrealistically, he was fired too quickly, but I think Zenit is a club now that he needs to stay with and he needs to be given time to show what he can now do.”
R-Sport understands the 36-year-old’s contract is worth 8.5 million euros a year, a sum Winterburn described as “huge,” making the Portuguese coach one of the world’s best paid managers.
On Mar. 21, he said he had turned down an offer from Olympique Marseille to join Zenit.