Porto boss dedicates Europa League win to Sir Bobby

TRIUMPHANT Europa League manager Andre Villas-Boas has dedicated last night’s final win to the memory of Sir Bobby Robson.

The Porto boss became the youngest manager ever to win a UEFA club competition when his team ran out 1-0 winners over Braga.

Speaking after the game, he paid a poignant tribute to the former Ipswich Town boss who gave Villas-Boas his first break in football when he was just 16 years old.

Sir Bobby, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho were all thanked by the jubilant manager after Falcao’s 44th-minute header won the trophy in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.

Villas-Boas said: “I dedicate this win to my technical staff, the players of Porto and the supporters. But I’d like to pay a complement to Pep Guardiola, which might come as a surprise, and to Jose Mourinho.

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“He (Mourinho) introduced me to professional football, and I’d like to dedicate this to him. And to someone who has already left us, but was decisive in my career – Sir Bobby Robson. I never had the opportunity to say farewell to him. I’d like to dedicate this to him and his wife, Elsie, and thank him for everything he’s done for me.

“Bobby allowed a 16-year-old to approach him and talk about football tactics with him. Then he took me to training, watching training sessions. He had that respect for a young boy who had just approached him in an apartment block in Porto.”

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The tribute to Sir Bobby was all the more fitting as this year marks the 30th anniversary of Town’s own UEFA Cup success before the tournament was converted into the Europa League.

The Blues’ particular triumph will be honoured with a special anniversary celebration organised by the Evening Star, Ipswich Borough Council and the football club and attended by a host of Town heroes from that victorious 1981 campaign.

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