The newly-appointed Chelsea boss said in The Mirror: “United are a reference point for us. That is pretty clear.
“They are a big, successful club and they are the challenge we face next season.
"If we are going to provoke them in that way, that's for our technical staff to decide. Most of them might think it's rubbish and let's just play. That's the key.
"It's not us shouting from the technical area that decides the success. Let's free them on their decision-making and see how they respond to motivation and ambition. We are people who like to focus a lot of motivation and ambition."
The new Blues boss could be looking to adopt a tactic previously used to motivate his Porto players at the beginning of last season.
The Portuguese coach showed his Porto players a video of rivals Benfica celebrating the league championship in a bid to motivate his squad.
Porto then went on to finish the season with the Portuguese League, Portuguese Cup and Europa League trophies as well as finishing the league campaign unbeaten.
“I cannot be so arrogant as to think that all the things I’ve used to motivate my players were the things that made them tick.
“We just need, as technical staff, to make the right moves. Maybe though that is a United photo or video to show us how they’ve been successful.”
Although Chelsea are yet to make major moves in the transfer market this summer, Villas-Boas has added a number of new members to his coaching department.
Former West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo has joined the club as assistant first-teach coach and he is joined by physical trainer Jose Mario Rocha and opposition scout Daniel Sousa.
“We are very open-minded people. All of us are very young and we think. That’s why we have made this choice,” Villas-Boas said of his new staff.
“We want the players to triumph as persons, as social role models. When they do that, they triumph as players as well," he said.
By Chris Matthews
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