Premier League - Paper Round: AVB pays price for not getting on with Levy

Newspaper reaction to the departure of Andre Villas-Boas from Tottenham Hotspur, with the Portuguese's relationship with Daniel Levy identified as a major factor.

Oliver Kay in The Times: One of the great myths about modern football is that it is purely a results business. Of course results matter — and two catastrophic defeats in four weeks undermine a manager’s position enormously — but if you are managing Tottenham Hotspur, results will bring only limited protection unless you can get along with Daniel Levy. For the second time in 18 months, the Tottenham chairman has washed his hands of a manager whose principal failing was in relationships rather than results.

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Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail: James Stewart was The Man Who Knew Too Much. Andre Villas-Boas was the man who knew too little. Well, not enough, anyway. Villas-Boas thought he was on top of what was happening at Tottenham Hotspur, but didn’t see the danger ahead. Not for the first time, he failed to comprehend where this particular narrative was heading. The protagonist in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller — he loved the story so much, he made it twice — uncovers an assassination plot. The man who knew too little, meanwhile, stumbled blindly to his fate on Monday, having announced just 24 hours previously that he would not quit, before Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy intervened to take the matter out of his hands.

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Darren Lewis in the Daily Mirror: First things first. The transfers. Paulinho lifted the Confederations Cup with Brazil. Roberto Soldado knows where the goal is and Christian Eriksen has already shown his quality with Ajax and Denmark . Etienne Capoue turned down Liverpool to join Spurs while Vlad Chiriches has shown he most definitely does have the class to hold down a place in any of the teams above the north Londoners right now. As for £30 million Erik Lamela - the man over whom there has been some buck-passing and in-fighting behind the scenes - how on earth can you judge a player so young, in a foreign league, in a foreign country so quickly? You can't. So blaming the quality of the players for Tottenham's troubles is errant nonsense. They need(ed) time. Just as any foreign player in any league does. Andre Villas-Boas's problem was not the calibre of the players that he had. It was the fact that Spurs were trying to get so many of them to hit the ground running so quickly.

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Dominic Fifield in The Guardian: Villas-Boas has time now to ponder if this all boils down to Bale. Relieved of his duties at White Hart Lane, his reputation in the Premier League about as persuasive as Tottenham's backline, the Portuguese retreats scarred by another brush with management in this country. At Chelsea he had failed to convince seasoned performers there that he was the man to hoist them back into Premier League and other contention. At Spurs he was ultimately undermined by an inability to coax immediate form from a swath of recruits, talented players with no experience of English domestic football. The sheer scale of the overhaul was overwhelming and the "dramatic changes" to which he referred on Sunday all stemmed from Bale's sale.

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Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail: Many of [the new signings] arrived after the start of the season but it only added to the wave of optimism enveloping White Hart Lane. Instead, it has all unravelled so quickly and by the time Spurs drew 2-2 with Manchester United on December 1, [Franco] Baldini was the only influential figure left at the club showing any support for Villas-Boas. The rest were ready to sack him. That game was followed by an exchange with the Daily Mail when Villas-Boas claimed he was being attacked ‘from the side’ and that the criticism was personal. He could not have been more wrong. It was a shame it came to that, but it was another illustration of his deepening paranoia. All that ever mattered was whether Villas-Boas was up to the job of managing a club the size of Tottenham and securing Champions League football. Monday morning, after a good night’s sleep, Levy decided he was not.

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Jack Pitt-Brooke in The Independent: With Andre Villas-Boas, it is easy to get lost in the language, the science, the philosophies and the systems, but at Tottenham Hotspur he was failing in the basic task of any manager, unable to get the best out of his players. Villas-Boas just could never get his teeth into this squad. With the exception of Bale, who is a different category of footballer from the rest, not one Spurs player seemed to develop under his leadership. Last season, Spurs’ general play was methodical and ponderous and they needed Bale to break open games. Without him, they often struggled to do that.

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David Wood in the Daily Star: It has been tough for Villas-Boas to bond a team after the club made seven summer signings – at a cost of more than £100m – and the majority of them were not ones he had personally picked. Following Real Madrid’s £85m purchase of Gareth Bale, Spurs – with new director of football Franco Baldini overseeing the ­recruitment policy – splashed out on Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Vlad ­Chiriches, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela. It was a huge ask to expect AVB to build a new team instantly, ­especially if the majority of the players were not ones that he had asked for.

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Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph: Five reasons why it went wrong for Villas-Boas: 1) Crisis management 2) Losing Gareth Bale 3) Summer transfer window 4) Striker problems 5) Raised expectations.

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