Don't call me new Mourinho: Villas-Boas

Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas says he should not be labelled as the new Jose Mourinho, even if he emulates his mentor by winning the Europa League final against Sporting Braga on Wednesday.

Updated: May 18, 2011 09:09 IST
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Dublin: Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas says he should not be labelled as the new Jose Mourinho, even if he emulates his mentor by winning the Europa League final against Sporting Braga on Wednesday.

Villas-Boas has earned favourable comparisons with Mourinho during a record-breaking first season in charge of Porto.

And he will garner more rave reviews if he leads the Portuguese club to a repeat of the 2003 UEFA Cup triumph masterminded by Mourinho during his time at the Dragao Stadium.

The 33-year-old has intimate knowledge of Mourinho's methodology after spending eight years working as his compatriot's opposition scout at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.

But Villas-Boas believes the comparisons end there.

Real Madrid coach Mourinho is never happier than when he is central to the drama of a big match -- even if he has to create a storm to steal the spotlight - and he drills his players to conform to his cautious game-plans.

In contrast, the rather more humble Villas-Boas deflects the credit for his achievements onto his players.

"People focus a lot on the work of the manager and I don't see it that way," Villas-Boas said on Tuesday.

"I don't see myself as a one-man show. Football isn't won by one person but by collective competence. It is the quality of the players and the structure of the club."

"I just want to make my players give their most. I give them room to express themselves because that's how they develop."

"I promote their talent and let them make their own decisions. There are no dictators."

"We dont see the game as a tactical game. If you are a dictator of choices, players won't be able to explore their possibilities to the full. You have to be able to free them."

Villas-Boas is reportedly no longer on close terms with Mourinho after deciding to leave the Special One's coaching staff to become a manager himself at Academica in 2009.

He plays down talk of a rift but pointedly ignored the chance to praise Mourinho for helping his development.

"I spent seven years with Jose and we were part of a very good technical staff. We went to top-class clubs at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan and worked with top players who gave us such a tremendous volume of success," he said.

"The position I had with him was a position he needed some help on. I understood my role from the beginning and tried to fulfill it with maximum professionalism."

"When I left him, he took on another person who I hope gives him the same level."

"Regarding why I left Inter, it was because I wanted the extra edge to fulfill my ambitions as a professional coach, so I took the risk to find my own job at Academica."

Porto go into Wednesday's match at Dublin's Aviva Stadium as heavy favourites after becoming only the second Portuguese team to win the league without losing a match.

However, Villas-Boas said: "I'm not interested in saying who are favourites and who are not. It won't help us. Braga comes to the final on merit."

"Braga has played against Celtic, Sevilla, Liverpool, Benfica and Arsenal. These are big European teams that lost to Braga. That shows they have done remarkable work so we need to focus."

"But we will be fighting for it, we really want to win. We will give our utmost and we are confident we will achieve a good result."

If Porto do overcome their near neighbours in the first all-Portuguese European final, Villas-Boas will become the youngest coach to win a major UEFA trophy - beating the previous record held by Gianluca Vialli, who led Chelsea to the Cup Winners' Cup in 1998.

Meanwhile, Porto captain Helton turns 33 on Wednesday and the Brazilian goalkeeper is dreaming of celebrating his birthday by lifting the Europa League trophy.

"Of course there is no doubt about it, it would be a very rewarding birthday present," he said. "It is all I dream about but it wouldn't just be a reward for me but all the team."

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