Marseille’s top players have begged André Villas-Boas to remain their coach this season, with the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss relaunching his career with the French club.
But everything could have ended after a year without the intervention of his team.
Villas-Boas is a man largely forgotten in England, and where he is not, is still the butt of ridicule after his short spell in the Premier League.
The Portuguese coach arrived as the widely proclaimed long-term successor to compatriot and former colleague Jose Mourinho, but left with his tail firmly between his legs after two failed spells in charge of London rivals Chelsea and Spurs.
His last outing as a Premier League manager was Tottenham’s disastrous 5-0 home loss to Liverpool, which led to his immediate departure from White Hart Lane, after being approached for jobs at Paris Saint-Germain and from Real Madrid a few months ago.
But, it seems that AVB is rather popular in France, where he changed his coaching career after stints at Zenit St Petersburg, Shanghai SIPG and also a brief career as a rally driver. Like you do.
Villas-Boas replaced Rudi Garcia as Marseille coach in May 2019, and he was a huge success, guiding the club to second place in Ligue 1 last season and a long-awaited return to the football of the Champions League.
However, it looked like the partnership would end prematurely after the 43-year-old was unhappy with the departure of sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta, who was initially responsible for his arrival at the club.
Villas-Boas was so appalled by the change in hierarchy that he even traveled home to Portugal and was about to terminate his contract a year earlier …
But a group of his more experienced players stepped in and convinced the coach to complete him with the team in the Champions League, where Marseille will face Manchester City on Tuesday night – LIVE on talkSPORT.
Explaining everything to Hawksbee and Jacobs on talkSPORT, French football expert Julien Laurens said: “They convinced him to stay.
“He was almost gone, he was back home in Portugal and he had already left Marseille, despite his second place last season and despite qualifying for the Champions League for the first time for the club in seven years.
“But then the players, Steve Mandanda, Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin, all the leaders told him: ‘You have to deliver this with us, we fought so hard to come back to the Champions League with you and thanks to you …’
“You gave us structure, you gave us discipline, you created this team entirely and now you cannot leave us when we are about to return to the Champions League”.
“I think he really appreciated the effort and the love of the players and deep down he probably wanted to be there in the Champions League with Marseille.
“It’s a great achievement for him, especially after everything that has happened in England and the long break he took, to come back to a club like Marseille and bring them back to the top, I think he was happy to change my mind at the end and decide to stay.
“But it’s still a big stain on his hands because we’ve seen it so far this season it’s not always great for him at Marseille, but I definitely think he deserves a second season in the Champions League with them. “