Strachan: AVB too young for Chelsea 'politics'

Former Celtic and Middlesbrough manager Gordon Strachan has defended Andre Villas-Boas following the Portuguese boss’ sacking at Chelsea.

Strachan, who managed Coventry and Southampton before taking the reins at Celtic Park in 2005, believes Villas-Boas was a victim of inexperience.

"I went to Celtic when I was 47 and I had the grounding," Strachan told Yahoo!. "I was a captain for a long time, and I had to deal with people as a captain at Leeds who were all different characters.

"My relationship with the manager [Howard Wilkinson] was first class. Then you go into management, coaching, and I did that. You never know the job 100 percent, but I only thought I was capable of doing the job in my late 40s.

"And only then because I was older as a person; I had seen things and done things. At 34, you ask anybody in any job if they know life, and the problems dealing with the people and situations. You never get any of that in coaching courses.

"You have to deal with problems, and it's only when you get to 50 or something that you have dealt with a lot of problems."

Out of the current managers of Premier League sides in the top 10 excluding Chelsea, only two are under the age of 50. Roberto Mancini is 47 and David Moyes 48, and both bosses have 15 years on the young Villas-Boas.

"That's why people talk about Sir Alex Ferguson or Harry Redknapp - they are really dealing with people now and they are not called coaches, they are called managers," said Strachan.

"At the Chelsea level you are dealing with people rather than coaching. I am certain that AVB is one of the best coaches in the world, and that is not a problem, but at 34 do you know people? Do you know how to deal with them?

"That was my problem with it, the bit that was so difficult; having that experience to deal with people who are insecure, they are worried about their age, they are worried about their position, they are worried about their strength at the club.

"I had a similar situation when I went to Celtic but I was old enough to deal with that problem, and that is what you get when you have been in the game for a long time, and that is what you have to deal with at a club like Chelsea."

Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich has now overseen seven different managers in eight seasons at Stamford Bridge, picking up a deserved reputation as a oligarch ready to wield the axe if results are not immediate.

"Dealing with chairmen, dealing with chief executives... you have to go through a lot of arguments and problems with these guys before you actually know how to deal with it. You need life experience when you are dealing with a big club like Chelsea.

"My son [Gavin Strachan] is youth team manager at Peterborough and he is now finding what it is like to deal with people and their problems.

"He is 34, at Peterborough United handling challenges and solving day to day problems. Imagine being 34 and dealing with Chelsea's players and Chelsea's chairman. I would have hated to deal with something like that at 34. I could not have done it."

For more insight from Gordon Strachan and other leading managers, plus exclusive Barclays Premier League highlights, visit www.yahoo.co.uk/sport

By James Dickenson