Villas-Boas reveals 'massive arguments' with data analysts at Spurs

Andre Villas-Boas reveals ‘massive, massive arguments’ with data analysts while managing Tottenham which left him ’emotionally DRAINED’ as he tried to sign a midfielder from Porto in 2012

  • Andre Villas-Boas was left ’emotinally drained’ following data-based squabbles 
  • He wanted to sign his former player from Porto, but the club insisted otherwise 
  • Pochettino acted like he was denied entry to a nightclub – It’s All Kicking Off 

Andre Villas-Boas has spoken about the unexpected emotional rigour of arguing about signings with data analysts while at Tottenham. 

The Portuguese manager spent 18 months at Spurs between July 2012 and December 2013 and wanted to sign a midfield star he had coached at Porto. 

He recalls ‘massive, massive arguments’ as he wanted to make his compatriot one of his first signings – but the club wagged their fingers and said the player was only sixth on their data-led midfield shortlist. 

Spurs pushed ahead with other targets, including Mousa Dembele, and returned for the mystery man at the end of the summer window, missing out on his signature by minutes – despite agreeing a £24million fee for him. 

That midfielder went on to be a Euros winner, a Ligue 1 winner, and a quality Premier League player, having been well-established in Portugal. 

Andre Villas-Boas discussed the emotional woes brought on by battling with data analysts

He wanted to sign Joao Moutinho from Porto, but he was told the midfielder was only sixth on their data-led list of targets 

The club instead opted for Mousa Dembele and by the time they went back in for Moutinho, it was too little, too late 

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The player in question is Joao Moutinho, who played for Sporting CP and Porto before moving on to Monaco, Wolves, and now Braga. 

‘I wanted to sign Joao Moutinho and he was sitting sixth on the list compiled by data people. The first on the list was Dembele and we ended up signing him,’ Villas-Boas said at Web Summit in Lisbon.

‘It drained me emotionally to the point where, here was a guy that the data was not showing all that he represented from the coach’s perspective, which is a player that knows your leadership, a player that knows your style, adaptability to your style. 

‘This can be quantified, but it must be done in the view of a coach and not a single view.

‘This was the problem in the beginning and we mad massive, massive arguments in the beginning because of this with Moutinho.

‘We signed Dembele but missed out on Moutinho and it was unfortunate because we were going to build up a very strong midfield.

‘This is precisely where you have to have that balance to understand, what is your coaching philosophy and how it should be integrated into the data that has been provided to you.’

Villas-Boas had an intriguing time on English shores.

Since leaving Marseille in February 2021, Villas-Boas has pursued a career as a rally driver

Chelsea paid £13.3million to release him from his Porto contract, impressed with his Europa League win there, but he only lasted eight months at Stamford Bridge. 

While Roberto Di Matteo swept in to win the Champions League, Villas-Boas waited for another job to come up and when Spurs came for him in the summer, he snapped up the chance.

Despite leading them to a then-club-record 72 Premier League points, he could only steer them to fifth in the top flight and was dsmissed a few months into the 2013/14 season. 

Villas-Boas has not been in work since leaving Marseille in 2021 and has forged a career as a rally driver while also spending time with his family.


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