Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas rebuilds reputation ahead of Swansea City clash
ANDRE Villas-Boas was speaking from experience when he recently said: "In this business we go from being the best to being donkeys very quickly."
When the 35-year-old was appointed Chelsea's manager 18 months ago, he was heralded as the heir to Jose Mourinho's throne, another 'Special One' to revolutionise the London club.
The fanfare came with some justification, as Villas-Boas had led Porto to a remarkable treble in his first season, staying unbeaten throughout the Portuguese league campaign before lifting the Europa League.
But his reputation took a battering at Stamford Bridge, with poor results and an uneasy relationship with senior players leading to his sacking in February.
Some chairmen might have been reluctant to appoint the Portuguese after his fraught tenure at Chelsea, but Tottenham's Daniel Levy had no such doubts.
After sacking the hugely popular Harry Redknapp, Levy incurred the wrath of many Spurs supporters by naming Villas-Boas as the new man in charge.
But, gradually, the chairman's boldness appears to be paying dividends.
Tottenham host Swansea on Sunday with only goal difference coming between them and a Champions League place.
Had Spurs held on for victory at Everton last weekend — rather than conceding two late goals to lose 2-1 — they would have been fourth and level on points with Chelsea in third.
As things stand, however, Villas-Boas is rebuilding the reputation he appeared to have shattered at Chelsea.
As well as their promising league position, Tottenham have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League, and they have been playing entertaining football.
In addition to the familiar talents of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, Spurs have made some shrewd signings in the form of Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey.
Another new arrival, Gylfi Sigurdsson, will be eager to impress against Swansea on Sunday, having spent a part of last season on loan at the Liberty.
Centre-back Steven Caulker is another Tottenham player with a Swans connection, having been in SA1 on a season-long loan last term.
Although the athletic Caulker is a Tottenham youth product, the 20-year-old returned to White Hart Lane like a new signing in the summer, and has since gone on to make a first senior appearance for England.
Caulker scored on his debut in Sweden and, although Swansea will know what to expect from him and Sigurdsson, they will be up against a Tottenham squad overflowing with quality.
With home advantage and four wins from their last five matches in all competitions, Spurs will start Sunday's match as favourites.
But, as Villas-Boas knows, one's fortunes in football can change in an instant.