The real reason why Chelsea boss Villas-Boas lashing out at media
They're now calling AVB 'Mr Chippy'.
Andre Villas-Boas seems to be picking a fight with everyone these days, snapping at questions about Fernando Torres' form, hitting out at critics of his Chelsea team selection - even trading insults with Liverpool legend Alan Hansen.
But is he really losing his rag? Or is this the young apprentice drawing on the example of the Special One?
By taking on the media, AVB is showing - in very public fashion - his support and total belief in his players. It's one thing to assure the likes of Torres and Frank Lampard on the training pitch, but by passionately fighting their corner in public, the Chelsea manager is showing his belief in his players and a willingness to risk his reputation to do it.
But it isn't just about trying to lift the confidence of some fragile egos. By challenging the media and some big identities, AVB is quickly creating the 'us versus the world' mentality which drove the Mourinho era at the Bridge. Rather than try to be the media's pal, AVB is making them an enemy which his players can rally against.
Given the way his meticulous planning and new discipline code has swept through the club since his arrival, it's fair to say the 'Mr Chippy' approach from AVB is more by design than fault.
And it's working.
No-one is speaking out against Villas-Boas' ways. On the spot fines and no outsiders at the training ground have been accepted by the players. Indeed, after the more relaxed ways of Carlo Ancelotti, they seem to be embracing the new culture AVB is introducing.
Fans are also appreciating the openness of Villas-Boas. Didier Drogba's contract remains unsigned? Yes, but we hope for a positive outcome. Nicolas Anelka wants to leave? Correct, he could be gone in January.
There's no second guessing for Blues fans around the world. AVB is happy to give them the information they crave. There's no secret society stuff from him, Blues fans deserve to know what is happening and the new manager is happy to pass on what he can.
It's been a surprise that Chelsea haven't talked up the previous role of AVB at the Bridge. Perhaps they're attempting to separate the young man running the IT scouting programme and today's manager. But it's worth Chelsea highlighting more the fact AVB came to the club groomed in Blues culture.
He did not only know the senior players, he knew the strengths and weaknesses of the club's facilities, it's scouting and coaching structure, the youth system, everything. He knows the ambitions of owner Roman Abramovich and his board. AVB left Chelsea, like any former Blues player, and gained a coaching education and experience first with Académica de Coimbra and then at Porto, before returning to the club a league and European champion. It's almost the ideal approach to coaching succession. Barcelona eat your heart out.
Yes, the tests will come. The inevitable form slump will need to be managed and the team's transition as Drogba, Lampard and John Terry's future remain up for discussion must be handled. But there's the sense AVB will be cut more slack by fans thanks to his Blues background and his youth. Villas-Boas, as he gains experience, will grow with the likes of Danny Sturridge, Josh McEachran and Romelu Lukaku. There's a bit of romance about a young manager taking on the Premier League and Europe with a youthful, energetic team. It's something you fancy fans around the world will gravitate to and hope to see succeed.
For now, it's about creating that bunker mentality and in the best traditions of Mourinho, if he has to cop a few dodgy monikers like 'Chippy' to protect his players, AVB will happily take it on the chin.