Villas-Boas won't play mind games with Ferguson

Updated: 17 September 2011 15:05 IST

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists he has no intention of playing mind games with Sir Alex Ferguson and the rest of the Premier League's top bosses.

Villas-Boas won't play mind games with Ferguson
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London:

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas insists he has no intention of playing mind games with Sir Alex Ferguson and the rest of the Premier League's top bosses.

Villas-Boas will go head to head with Ferguson for the first time on Sunday when Chelsea visit Old Trafford for the kind of high stakes fixture that often triggered verbal sparring between managers when his mentor Jose Mourinho was in charge of the Blues.

Mourinho relished the opportunity to wind up rival bosses like Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger and occasionally took a swipe at Ferguson, although their relationship was generally cordial.

Whereas Mourinho felt the match began with his press conferences, with his waspish comments aimed at taking the attention off his players while also irritating opponents, Villas-Boas prefers to keep the peace whenever possible.

"I don't see any reason to play mind games," he said. "If you react to things people say it might look as if you are vulnerable to pressure.

"That is why I took care in reading Ferguson's full press conference before this match.

"I knew what he said before I came here (to speak to the press) and he didn't say anything disrespectful."

Villas-Boas doesn't believe Mourinho's mind games played much part in Chelsea's success when the pair were together in west London, with Villas-Boas working as the club's opposition scout.

"During my time with Mourinho at Chelsea we won two Premier Leagues, but in the end what was the importance of all the mind games? I don't think it had any effect on the players," he said.

"Last year I had my disagreements with the Benfica manager, which is normal as they were threating for the title, but I don't think it made much difference to the result of the title race."

Former Porto coach Villas-Boas is the new kid on the block in the Premier League but he knows plenty about Ferguson's formidable reputation and is happy to show respect to the Godfather of English football.

The 33-year-old can identify with Ferguson's unquenchable thirst for success and the passion that he still shows even after 25 years with United, although he doesn't expect to still be managing at 69 like the Scot.

"We managers carry a tremendous amount of passion for the game which is very important. It is a different kind of passion than the players," he said.

"We have the passion to study opponents and to absorb as many games as possible. It is very driven.

"It is incredible that Sir Alex has done it with such success. As a manager his CV speaks for himself.

"I lost count of the amount of titles he has. You have to pay respect to a person who have achieved so much.

"I am grateful and honoured to be able to play a game of such importance against a person who has won so many titles.

"I don't think I will go on as long as him. It is my idea to have a shorter career, 12 to 15 years maybe."

Villas-Boas has met Ferguson on a couple of occasions at coaching seminars and admits to being slightly star-struck when the United chief introduced himself.

"I was just standing there and he came out of the blue. We said hello and spoke about something about the weekend's games. Then we talked at the meeting about Stoke's tactics!," he said.

"I don't know if he is the best ever. There are a couple threatening to be the best at the moment.

"Maybe it is between Ferguson, Mourinho and (Barcelona boss Pep) Guardiola. It is good to live with these examples."

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