Former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has revealed the real reason why Andre Villas-Boas failed at Stamford Bridge, claiming that the Portuguese coach didn't have the backing of the first-team dressing room.
The 37-year-old was appointed as Carlo Ancelotti's successor in the summer of 2011, but was sacked midway through his first season in charge in west London by an increasingly frustrated Roman Abramovich.
The Russian billionaire owner was criticised for the way in which he dealt with Villas-Boas' swift departure, barely giving the highly-rated tactician a chance to stamp his authority on the Blues team.
However, according to former left-back Cole, the manager always faced an uphill battle to win over senior Chelsea players, and that is perhaps the reason why he was relieved of his duties prematurely after just nine months in charge.
"There were some players who didn't want to work hard for Villas-Boas," Cole confirmed in an interview with Sky Sport Italia. "But as soon as [Roberto] Di Matteo arrived, that all changed."
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In the aftermath of Villas-Boas' ill-fated spell at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea went on to win an impressive FA Cup and Champions League double under the interim management of the Italian, something that would not have been possible under the previous regime.
The following summer Villas-Boas was given a second shot at the Premier League, this time taking over at Tottenham in July 2012. But, after 18 months at White Hart Lane he left London again - this time by mutual consent - before taking over at Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg in March 2014.
"Ashley is very happy at Roma and he's settling in better and better all the time" - David Manasseh
Cole, meanwhile, left Chelsea upon the expiry of his contract in the summer, and opted for a new challenge abroad after choosing to join Serie 'A' giants AS Roma for the 2014/15 campaign.
The 33-year-old has endured a difficult start to life at Stadio Olimpico, and has been dropped by Rudi Garcia for recent games against Sampdoria and Napoli. He returned to the starting XI for Sunday's victory over Torino, and is enjoying his time in a new country with a different culture.
Recent rumours had linked Cole with a move away from Rome in January, but his representative David Manasseh rubbished suggestions linking his client with a departure at the turn of the year.
"Ashley is very happy at Roma and he's settling in better and better all the time," he told calciomercato.it.