Terry: I see much of Jose in Villas-Boas
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has done his level best to play down comparisons with Jose Mourinho in recent months but Blues captain John Terry says similarities between the two are impossible to ignore.
Villas-Boas, 33, took charge of Chelsea in June - a month after guiding Porto to a treble of Portuguese Liga, Europa League And Portuguese Cup triumphs.
Mourinho achieved the same feat with the club in 2003, but stayed at the Stadio do Dragao for one more season to guide Porto to surprise Champions League glory, before then jumping ship to Stamford Bridge where he became the club's most successful manager to date.
Despite the similar career paths of the Portuguese pair, Villas-Boas has often distanced himself from comparisons with the 'Special One', stating earlier this year that he is "no rival to someone who will be the best manager of all time".
But Chelsea stalwart Terry feels that Villas-Boas, already labelled 'Mini-Mou' by some corners of the English press, has plenty in common with his more illustrious compatriot - something the England skipper certainly doesn't view as a bad thing.
"Clearly, he has learned from Jose and there are certain things where you think, 'That is very Mourinho-esque','' Terry said. "Jose didn't like anyone getting close to the players. We had a good relationship with him but there were days you wouldn't have gone near him.
"So you could have a laugh and a joke with Jose and that could change the following day. That was the same with Andre when he was here and he's very much the same now as a manager.''
Villas-Boas' team selection for his first competitive game in charge on Sunday is eagerly anticipated. And although Terry appears a certain starter at Stoke, the captain is taking nothing for granted.
Terry was famously one of Jose Mourinho's "untouchables'' but admitted he began to fret last season that he could be axed by former boss Carlo Ancelotti. The summer arrival of Villas-Boas has compounded that uncertainty for the defender, who has been the backbone of Chelsea's side for almost a decade.
"I feared losing my place last year and many other things,'' Terry said. "It's a fresh start for everyone, we've had to come in and prove ourselves, even though he watched every game last year and he knows a lot of the players anyway.
"He said anyone can lose their place. We all come in fighting for our places so we're all keen to see what the starting XI is going to be against Stoke.''
"I know there's this feeling out there that players like myself, Lamps and Didier, the players that have been there for a long time, take our place in the team for granted. But it's the complete opposite.
"We are the ones day in, day out, who are digging in deep, getting everyone together, making sure we are setting the example. And when we play a five-a-side, it's the players like me, 'Diddler', 'Lamps' and Ash (Ashley Cole) who care and say, 'It's not okay to lose 3-0 in training'.
"If you lose 3-0 in training then you go into the game at the weekend not believing, and for us that really matters. So when people say, 'We've been here a long time, we don't really care' - it's the complete opposite.''