Andre Villas-Boas took a leaf out of the book of his compatriot and former Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, to become ‘The Angry One’ when he met the written media after Tottenham’s draw with Manchester United at White Hart Lane.
AVB was buoyed by his team’s performance but he didn’t let the opportunity pass to take a swipe at the journalists who had written articles which were highly critical of him. One of the two Mail reporters, Neil Ashton, was present and challenged the Spurs manager to discus the matter further.
Villas-Boas had spoken earlier in an interview with BBC Sport saying that the pressure he had experienced in the past week since Spurs 6-goal defeat at Manchester City had been ‘aggressive’ and ‘agenda-driven’.
Obviously, still angered by what had been written by Ashton and his colleague Martin Samuel for the Mail, he spoke of reporters who had insulted his integrity, his professionalism and his achievements at previous clubs.
I think it is a lack of respect. It is an attack on a person’s integrity.
AVB regarded the articles as a personal attack on him.
In a response in the Mail, Ashton dismissed it as part and parcel of his work as a football reporter and denied that it was a personal attack as he didn’t know Villas-Boas. The only point that the two men could agree on, that they didn’t know each other. Opinion articles are written everyday and everyone moves on as the football news headlines are constantly changing.
Villas-Boas had a difficult relationship with journalists while with Chelsea. His difficulties during ten months at Stamford Bridge were constantly making headlines and were just another burden to make his introduction to football in the Premier League very uncomfortable after such a successful season with Porto in Portugal.
He has coped much better in his time at White Hart Lane and had appeared to have a much calmer relationship with the media. He has felt under severe pressure in the past week following the defeat at City although he did say that he was ‘immune to criticism’ but obviously it still rankled enough to make him take retaliatory action at yesterday’s press conference.
Whether it was a wise move for Villas-Boas to air his grievances in this way is open to question. Tottenham fans are fully behind their manager having a go at the press but he had better ensure that Spurs go on a winning runs in the coming weeks or he might regret his remarks as he discovers that there are a few other reporters sharpening their laptops ready to have a swipe at him.