Premier League

Chelsea hires Villas-Boas as manager

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LONDON

Andre Villas-Boas became Chelsea's seventh manager in eight years on Wednesday when he was hired by the Premier League club on a three-year contract.

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The 33-year-old Villas-Boas, who is often compared to fellow countryman and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, will start work immediately at the London club, having resigned from his post at Porto on Tuesday.

Villas-Boas succeeds Carlo Ancelotti as manager at Stamford Bridge following the Italian coach's sacking on the final day of last season, despite winning the Premier League-FA Cup double the previous year.

''Andre was the outstanding candidate for the job,'' Chelsea said in a statement. ''He is one of the most talented young managers in football today and has already achieved much in a relatively short space of time.

''His ambition, drive and determination matches that of Chelsea and we are confident Andre's leadership of the team will result in greater successes in major domestic and European competitions.''

Villas-Boas' contract with the Porto was terminated after they received payment of ?15 million ($21.5 million) to trigger his release clause from the Portuguese champions.

With Villas-Boas having never managed in the Champions League, the appointment could be seen as a risk, given Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's desire to win Europe's premier club competition.

However, Villas-Boas is so highly rated that he has been dubbed by many as the ''Mini-Mourinho,'' after the current Real Madrid coach who has been one of the most successful managers in Europe in recent years.

Chelsea is familiar with Villas-Boas following his spell as a scout for Mourinho at the club from 2004-07.

''Andre will bring his coaching experience back to a club he is already very familiar with, having previously worked here for three years,'' the Chelsea statement read.

''He has always been highly regarded at Chelsea and everyone here looks forward to welcoming him back and working with him.''

Comparisons with Mourinho were reinforced last month when Villas-Boas emulated his mentor by winning the Europa League, the second-tier European competition which Mourinho lifted with Porto in 2003 in its UEFA Cup format.

Porto had already won the Portuguese league by then, sweeping to the title in an unbeaten campaign in his one and only season with the club.

He was previously coach at Portuguese side Academica for a year.

Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho, Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Ancelotti have come and gone under Abramovich since he took over in 2003.

Chelsea went without silverware last season after it came second in the league and was eliminated by Manchester United in the semifinals of the Champions League.

Villas-Boas has used his first interview to tell fans that any success under his stewardship will be down to the club rather than him alone.

"Don't expect something from one man,'' he told Chelsea TV.

"Expect us to create a group dynamic of everybody getting together, with the fans getting together, with people getting excited with the motivation that is in and around us.

"In the new way of communicating and the new leadership - this is the most important thing.

"It is not about my arrival. It is about the continuos success of this club.''

Villas-Boas is no stranger to the west London club, working there under as part of the backroom staff under Mourinho, whom he followed to Inter Milan.

During that time Villas-Boas saw the club's elevation to perennial title-contenders and he is determined to maintain the strides made in that time.

"Let's reflect on the success of the past six years at this club and what we have achieved and now what we can achieve in the next six years again,'' he added.

"There is no doubt that the challenge for me is to keep winning.

"I am an individual who has that hunger for success and I want to keep it that way.''

Chelsea confirmed that Villas-Boas is due to begin work immediately after labelling him as the "outstanding candidate'' for a job that has been vacant since Carlos Ancelotti was sacked immediately after the final day of last season.

Villas-Boas tendered his resignation with Porto yesterday, with last night's confirmation of the receipt of the compensation payment paving the way for him to move on to a new club.

All that was left was for Villas-Boas to agree the formalities of a lucrative £4.4million a year salary on his return to Stamford Bridge, but this time as the man charged with delivering the Champions League trophy.

"Andre was the outstanding candidate for the job. He is one of the most talented young managers in football today and has already achieved much in a relatively short space of time,'' the club statement read.

"His ambition, drive and determination matches that of Chelsea and we are confident Andre's leadership of the team will result in greater successes in major domestic and European competitions.

"Andre will bring his coaching experience back to a club he is already very familiar with, having previously worked here for three years.

"He has always been highly regarded at Chelsea and everyone here looks forward to welcoming him back and working with him.''

One of his first moves as the new Blues boss could be to sign Porto's star striker Falcao, the £25million-rated Colombian having impressed as the Dragons won the Europa League final at Dublin's Aviva Stadium, where the 25-year-old netted the only goal against Braga.

However, at just 33 Villas-Boas will be the youngest manager in the Barclays Premier League and must quickly integrate himself back into the Stamford Bridge dressing room where he will be the same age as veterans such as Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.

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