Coyle: Villas-Boas is a winner
Coyle and Villas-Boas took part in the same pro-licence course in Scotland in 2007, with the Portuguese a stand-out figure even then at the age of 29. At the time Villas-Boas was serving his apprenticeship under Jose Mourinho as an assistant coach at Chelsea prior to following his compatriot to Inter Milan. Since stepping out from under Mourinho's wing in 2009, Villas-Boas' ascent has been astonishingly swift. At Porto last season, he achieved the triple of league title, Portuguese Cup and Europa League. Now in his first year with Chelsea, after the club reportedly paid around £13million to acquire his services, Villas-Boas has made a solid start to life at Stamford Bridge. Ahead of Sunday's trip to the Reebok Stadium to take on Bolton the Blues are third in the Premier League, three points behind leaders Manchester United. Four years on from that first meeting, Coyle is not surprised the now 33-year-old has progressed as rapidly as he has, and that he will already be crossing swords with him in the top flight. "Ultimately he is a winner. I saw that when we did our pro-licence together," said Coyle. "This is not somebody who thought 'I'll go to Scotland on a whim and do a coaching badge, and then I might come back a year later.' "This is somebody who knew exactly how they wanted to plan their future development, to go from one year to another to progress. "That emphasises how meticulous he is in his preparation, and that goes for everything." Coyle could recognise at the time Villas-Boas was a managerial star in the making, adding: "I think all of us on the course could see that. "As a group we all liked him, we all took to him, and I certainly felt he was somebody driven to succeed, very good at what they do and obviously wanting to progress. "And like anybody else, because we all crave the same thing, if an opportunity did arise then I felt pretty sure he would take it, and he has done. He has become an outstanding manager." Coyle was also fortunate enough to get to know Villas-Boas, and like his talent, was also struck by his character. "He is an absolute gentleman," added Coyle. "Under Jose he had a fantastic set-up to learn, but when you sit down with him as well, you find he is a gem. "He is somebody whose company you like. You could sit and chat with him all night about football, and any other topic, because he is a very intelligent man as well. "And what a lot of people might not know about him is he has a very good sense of humour. "He joined in with the banter, gave as good as he got, and we liked that about him. He didn't take himself too seriously. "If you give a bit of stick you have to take some as well. We all did that openly with a big smile on our face, and he was a big part of that. "I became very good friends with him on the back of that, and he is somebody I've a lot of time for, and because of that I'm looking forward to Sunday."