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Mar 15, 2014

Jorge Jesus: Villas-Boas set for Zenit

Andre Villas-Boas has agreed to become the new head coach of Zenit St Petersburg, replacing the sacked Luciano Spalletti, according to Benfica boss Jorge Jesus.

Andre Villas-Boas has suffered a whirlwind period in charge at Spurs.
Villas-Boas left Tottenham in December.

Reports in the Russian media on Friday suggested that the former Chelsea and Tottenham coach was set to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal to take over at the Petrovsky on Monday and Jesus, Villas-Boas' rival from the 36-year-old's glorious year in charge of Porto, confirmed the story.

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, ahead of the Portuguese league leaders' trip to Nacional on Sunday, Jesus said Villas-Boas had confirmed to him in a telephone call on Friday that he would resume his managerial career in Russia.

• Sherwood: Benfica boss lacks class

"I have an excellent relationship with Villas-Boas," Jesus said. "We were speaking yesterday, and I speak with him frequently. I don't know if I should say this, but he told me that he's going to Zenit."

Following his dismissal by Tottenham in December, Villas-Boas had returned to his native city of Porto to assess his options, and had been tentatively linked with West Bromwich Albion and AC Milan, and even with a return to the Estadio do Dragao.

Should he indeed take the reins at Zenit, he will assume control of a team in second place in the Russian Premier League but in poor form, having lost their first game under interim coach Sergei Semak on Saturday, 1-0 at CSKA Moscow. Zenit travel to Borussia Dortmund for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, but with their hopes virtually extinguished as they face a 4-2 deficit.

Elsewhere in his Saturday briefing, Jesus sidestepped the implication that his friendship with Villas-Boas was behind the touchline spat with Tim Sherwood in Thursday's Europa League win at Tottenham, and said "we [Jesus and Sherwood] could talk about it some more."

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