If you moan about home, you’ve had it!

Antagonising the home support never does end well for managers struggling to find results. Ask Andre Villas-Boas. By Pradeep Kumar.

By the time Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling applied gloss to the score-line with a fifth goal, a neat finish into the bottom right corner, Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas could see through to the inevitable.

Referee Jon Moss’s final whistle at the White Hart Lane not only brought to an end 90 minutes of misery for the home supporters, but also decided Villas-Boas’ kismet. The Portuguese tactician was relieved of his duties mere hours after declaring that he wasn’t a “quitter”.

The 36-year-old’s sacking closely follows on the heels of West Bromwich Albion dismissing Steve Clarke. Clarke, 50, had guided West Brom to its best ever finish position of eighth in the top flight last season. Whilst the Baggies’ board made it out that Clarke’s dismissal had more to do with the club’s unfavourable results in the league than anything else, the same cannot be said about Villas-Boas’ plight.

Hammered 6-0 by Manchester City and defeated 3-0 and 5-0 by West Ham and Liverpool at home, Tottenham’s season was in serious danger of losing steam. But, Villas-Boas’ sacking involved reasons beyond these poor results.

To put it in a nutshell, Villas-Boas reached for the Pandora’s Box and opened it, albeit out of naivety, committing in the process the cardinal sin in football.

Following a 1-0 home victory against Hull City in late October, the former protégé of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said this of the home support: “We looked like the away team. We played in a difficult atmosphere with almost no support.

“We have a wonderful set of fans but they can do better. We don’t need the negativity that was in White Hart Lane today.”

And he went on to compound the misery when he added: “Sometimes at home it is difficult, and it looks like it drags the ball into our goal instead of the opponents’ goal.

“We need that help. This stadium, with the noise it can generate, can be so difficult to play. But not like this.”

Antagonising the home support never does end well for managers struggling to find results. And so it proved as Tim Sherwood took over as caretaker manager at Spurs even as Villas-Boas travels back to Porto wondering where it all went wrong for him.

Over the years, Premier League managers have resorted to blaming all kinds of things when results don’t go their way. Blaming the referee, by all means, is a popular choice. Blaming the media for creating unnecessary pressure can work as well. Even singling out a particular player has been a tolerated act.

But lashing out against the fans remains one of the last great taboos. Certainly, Tottenham’s supporters didn’t take well to being told they can “do better” after having paid £1,200 for a season ticket.

Notwithstanding the fact that London crowds are indeed notorious for being less vocal, attributed to them being posh, than their north-western or south coast counterparts, Villas-Boas, essentially, ended up paying the price for being honest.

A little diplomacy would have helped. Because, look back to the great history of long-serving managers at football clubs and try to find one that listed incurring the wrath of supporters as an important step in the recipe!

Sir Alex Ferguson’s longevity, often cited as one of the cornerstones of Manchester United’s success, lingered on having never committed that mistake. Despite facing the axe four years into his tenure, the Scot never even once dropped a hint of dissatisfaction in the supporters’ direction.

Current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, in his second stint at the club, is perhaps the best example out there, as he has efficiently managed to steer clear of troubled waters, despite enduring turbulent tenures at his former clubs.

Still, at Inter, Mourinho had often reminisced about the good times he had with Chelsea, the club and its supporters. Even when he was managing Real Madrid, arguably the biggest club there is, Mourinho echoed similar sentiments, often reminding the folks at West London that he felt he was away from his “true home”.

As it soon became evident that he wasn’t going to last at Madrid, with factionalism taking deep roots, it was this memory of the “Special One” that facilitated an easy return to where it all began for Mourinho. Only this time, he returned as the “happy one”.

Akin to Villas-Boas, there are a few examples of managers getting it horrifically wrong. Roy Hodgson’s ill-fated reign at Liverpool ended when the 66-year-old criticised the club’s famous Kop.

“The famous Anfield support has not really been there ever since I came here,” the England manager had said.

Mere days later, Hodgson was removed and club legend Kenny Dalglish brought back to lift the sapping spirits.

It is also the same reason why Mourinho’s predecessor, former Liverpool and current Napoli manager, Rafael Benitez never won over the Stamford Bridge support despite leading the club to the Europa league crown. Benitez, in his time at Liverpool, had been vocally critical of Chelsea supporters, whom he described as “lacking passion” and carrying “stupid plastic flags”.

Perhaps, that is what makes Mourinho stand out as a great manager. He went out of his way to praise Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo recently, despite having fallen out with the Portuguese superstar, one of the many reasons behind his exit from the Spanish capital.

And, in hindsight, it doesn’t cease to amaze that Villas-Boas failed to pick up this, rather important, trait from his mentor. Astounding, as it may seem, because in order to be a special one, you may have to start at some point being a clever one.

And a clever manager never digs his own grave by speaking ill of the supporters. Look at Alan Pardew. With his job’s fate in the balance, when it was revealed that Joe Kinnear was set to return as director of football at the Tyneside club, presumably to push him out, Pardew responded in the classic way — quieting his critics with less talk and more action. So, when Newcastle’s fortunes on the field improved, so did Pardew’s. This despite, Pardew being in the right had he wished to have a go at the management for making a mess of the transfer dealings, oddly because of Kinnear’s “expertise” in the area.

Unfortunately for Villas-Boas, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy had had enough and saw fit to call time on the man he so proudly brought in as Harry Redknapp’s successor, and had described as the one “to take the club forward” less than 18 months ago.

Comparatively, the much-maligned Steve Kean lasted longer at Blackburn Rovers.

Strange indeed, the way the Premier League works!