x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Holland moving up

Steve Holland was on vacation when he got a call from Andre Villas-Boas asking if he would join him as a first-team coach at Stamford Bridge. "Half a second later I said yes," Holland says.

Andre Villas-Boas, second from the right, has named Roberto Di Matteo and Steve Holland, right, his first-team assistants.
Andre Villas-Boas, second from the right, has named Roberto Di Matteo and Steve Holland, right, his first-team assistants.

Newly-appointed Chelsea assistant coach Steve Holland admits it has been a "strange week" but is excited by the philosophy manager Andre Villas-Boas is looking to employ at Stamford Bridge.

Holland was this week promoted from reserve-team coach to assistant first-team coach, where he will work as part of former Porto manager Villas-Boas's new-look backroom team.

Roberto Di Matteo, Jose Mario Rocha and Daniel Sousa have been drafted in by Villas-Boas to work with existing goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon and Holland, who says he is excited by the prospect of Chelsea under their new leadership structure.

"It has been as strange week," he told the club's official website.

"This time last week I was in Spain with my family and Andre called me, asking whether I would like to be involved with the first-team staff for next season.

"Half a second later I said yes and was on the way home.

"I spent most of last weekend in a hotel with Andre going through his philosophy and his ideas.

"It's something I'm very proud to have been asked to do and I'm excited and looking forward to helping Andre and supporting the team. If I'm honest that is also balanced with an element of sadness. At any football club when there is change and staff members go, especially if you've had a good relationship, it is sad to see people go, so all things considered it has been a really strange week."

Holland guided the reserves to the national championship last season playing a brand of exciting, attacking football, which the former Crewe Alexandra coach believes the first team will be embracing under Villas-Boas.

"Going back right down to my childhood, I was inspired by the Brazilians of 1982," he added.

"I was 12 then, but remember that World Cup with Zico, Serginho, Socrates, Falcao.

"Even before then the Dutch team of the mid-70s, and I grew up on the legend of those players, so I've always been inspired by that type of football. Coming here a couple of years ago, the development teams play with that philosophy, the reserves did last year and Andre is exactly the same, so it is a good fit."

Petr Cech, the Chelsea goalkeeper, has said the club's new manager should not be judged on his age. The 33-year-old coach is only four years older than Cech, but the keeper believes he has all the qualities to succeed at Stamford Bridge.

"If you are 16 and have the qualities to play at the highest level then that's fine. It's the same for a young manager," Cech told BBC Radio Five live. "Villas-Boas won the Europa League [in 2010/11] which showed how good he is."