League Managers Association chief Richard Bevan has hit out at Chelsea’s decision to sack beleaguered manager Andre Villas-Boas, saying he is ‘frustrated and saddened’ to see the 34-year-old leave after just eight months in charge.
The former Porto manager had been under increasing pressure after a run of form that had seen the Blues slip out of the top four thanks to a run of just one win in their last six Premier League games, while they remain in danger of exiting the Champions League at the last 16 stage after a first leg defeat to Napoli last month.
An insipid 1-1 draw with Birmingham in the fifth round of the F.A Cup which drew a chorus of boos from the Chelsea faithful last month also put the Portuguese manager on the back foot.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against West Brom, which extended their recent run to just five wins from the last 16 games in all competitions proved to be the final straw for owner Roman Abramovich, with Villas-Boas now the eighth manager to have come and gone since the Russian took over in 2003.
Villas-Boas’ assistant Roberto di Matteo has been installed as interim boss until the end of the season.
"What's for sure is the club, despite unlimited wealth, haven't yet worked out how to build a successful football club," said Bevan in the aftermath of Villas-Boas’ departure.
"Looking for what is an eighth manager in nine years is a serious embarrassment to the owner, the club, the fans and the league."
Bevan added: "He (Villas-Boas) was very disappointed, frustrated, saddened, but his thoughts were for the club, the fans and indeed Roberto Di Matteo, wishing him well for the rest of the season.
"He's obviously a man who played six years or so for the club and has got good managerial experience with West Brom in the Premier League."
Pep Guardiola and Rafa Benitez are rumoured to be in the running for the job on a full-time basis while former Blues boss Jose Mourinho, who remains the most successful manager in the club’s history, has also been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are trophy-less since they did the double under Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked a season later, in 2009 and Bevan believes that in order for the club to get back to winning ways they need to find some continuity with their managers.
Players need to know that the manager's strategy and his job is not in question, there's a clear remit," he commented.
"You get success if you get time, and stability will come from that. Otherwise it's very difficult for a manager like Andre to impose his philosophy and build a team."