• Premier League

Lampard deserved respect from AVB - Alex

ESPN staff
March 7, 2012

Former Chelsea defender Alex believes Andre Villas-Boas showed a lack of respect to Frank Lampard and does not subscribe to the view that player power forced the manager out of the club.

The Brazilian, who left Stamford Bridge to join Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window after being sidelined since Villas-Boas' arrival in the summer, believes the former manager's personality counted against him in one of the most high-pressure jobs in football.

Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea on Sunday following a 1-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, leaving the Blues outside of the top four in the Premier League and on the verge of a Champions League exit after losing the first leg of their last-16 tie 3-1 against Napoli.

And while Alex cannot fault the level of commitment Villas-Boas showed during his time in charge at Chelsea, the Portuguese was always in trouble when the defeats and dropped points started to rack up.

"It is always like this: when the results do not show up, the one who pays is the coach," Alex told O Jogo. "But Andre is a coach with great quality, as I saw day to day in how he worked on every single detail.

"At Chelsea it had already happened several times, the exit of a manager in the middle of the season. It is a big club, where there is enormous pressure to win the Champions League. You cannot say that this pressure affects the players every day, but perhaps it affects the work of technicians. And do not forget that it is a competition that is difficult to conquer.

"This situation was being talked about for a while, even because of Andre's behaviour. He is not the kind of person who talks a lot, he's someone who a bit closed. That's just the way he is."

Alex was sent to train with the reserves after handing in a transfer request to the club in December along with Nicolas Anelka, and did not add to his three appearances this season before reuniting with Carlo Ancelotti in Paris. It was a sorry end to five years of service at Chelsea, but all too typical of Villas-Boas for the Brazilian, who sees parallels between his treatment and that of Frank Lampard.

"I saw some comments on Lampard recently and I think he deserved more respect," said Alex. "It is true that a player knows he will sometimes have to stay on the bench, especially after reaching a certain age. That's not a problem. But with his history at the club, where he has more than 10 years, he deserves a word or an explanation from the manager.

"Fundamentally, it was a question of respect for everything that he represents for Chelsea."

Fellow managers have expressed their sympathy for Villas-Boas in the wake of his departure from Chelsea, questioning the timing, the patience of owner Roman Abramovich and the role that player power had in his dismissal. But Alex disputes claims that the dressing room could play a significant role in the demise of any manager.

"I think it makes little sense to say that there was a hard core who did not want Andre to continue. If you look carefully, Terry and Ashley Cole always played; Drogba and even Fernando [Torres] had lots of opportunities.

"We, the players, often have a habit when things go wrong of blaming the coach. But that's not true. Sometimes things don't go well for the team due to little details, like a lack of luck, or poor form from some of us.

"In the end, it was good I had a problem there because I came to a great club [Paris Saint-Germain] and city."

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