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Message To Chelsea Fans: Give AVB Time

Thursday 9th February 2012
Sunday's 3-0 choke job that was Chelsea's draw to Manchester United has brought even more supporters to the forefront against Andres Villas-Boas, and they want him out.

Roman Abramovich wanted the hottest new mind to guide his team. AVB, being a disciple of Chelsea's managing legend Jose Mourinho, certainly didn't hurt his appeal by learning from the two-time EPL Champion. Add in that AVB had already worked for the club as an assistant, and it was a logical choice.

The Portuguese manager was coming off of an impressive year with Porto, amassing the Portuguese title, League Cup and the Europa League. This experience in Portugal, however, is borderline puny in stature compared to the size of the prizes and clubs that exist in the English Premier League.

AVB was tasked with formulating and beginning executing a long-term plan, not something that can be completed in a year, let alone the eight months he has been on the job. He must be given adequate time to do so in order for his abilities to be properly evaluated. Chelsea can't simply ditch him and start yet another search for a manager, for this type of knee-jerk action has proven ineffective ever since The Special One left Stamford Bridge. Even if AVB was fired, who would want to manage the club knowing that, without instant success, they would be fired too?

For a top European club, the Blues have cycled through a lot of managers since Mourinho. Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti were all hired and churned out before now thirty-four year old Andres Villas Boas was hired.

The main problem is not the manager. It's that the talent and skills in the old guard are fading.  Winners of three titles, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech may tell you otherwise, but their roles in Chelsea's success are diminishing. It's not their fault, it just Father Time. The Blues have to become younger in order to build for the future with the veterans no longer able to be relied upon to lead the team to a title. The Russian had to do something about it and he did. Chelsea fans should just hope that this time he has the patience to see it through.

The old guard is stubborn. They don't want to listen to some hot shot young manager from an inferior league telling them what to do and how to play. While this may be an extreme example, had Sir Alex Ferguson stepped in and told Terry, Lampard and Drogba that they'd only be playing 2/3rds of the club's games or minutes instead of the full slate that they're accustomed to, do you think there would be a problem?

Even though I agree that blowing a sizable lead at home should never have been allowed to happen (Howard Webb aside), AVB is not the problem. The players have to be held accountable for their performances this season and some of that rests with the older players.

AVB has to ensure that the veterans know that while he believes they still has something left to offer the club, their role is not as integral as it once was. It's about the club and its future, it's not about them. They just have to trust him and the influx of youth that has to be mixed in. The veterans have to not only assist in the training and guidance of the younger players, but know that they can still come through in crucial moments while accepting a lesser role.

Chelsea fans (me included) must try and forget that gutting draw to United that felt more like a defeat. Chelsea's current standing in the league is fourth place, and, while hardly secure, it should satisfy the fans for now as the club rebuilds. If they can hold onto fourth and maintain a Champions League spot, it's a bonus for a club in transition.
James Paul

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