Villas-Boas glad to be in top four
By Paul Andrews
Tottenham Hotspur under Andre Villas-Boas have proven to be a major headache if you're a supporter of the North London club. From ending a 20 year jinx at Old Trafford with a stiring 3-2 victory over Manchester United to losing 1-0 at home to lowly Wigan, Spurs have made a yo-yo seem calm and collected in comparison.
The pressure and spotlight on AVB has gone from intense, insane, extreme to tolerated, loved, adored and back again in the course of days lets alone weeks and months. With a tight 1-0 victory over Swansea on Sunday the team has moved to fourth on the English Premier League table, two points clear of Everton and West Bromwich Albion, who are level on points in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Now with the holiday period just around the corner, Tottenham have four league matches in the space of 10 days. Each one of their fixtures is mouther watering because on paper they are all winnable games. If Spurs have any design on 4th place the likes of Aston Villa, Sunderland and Reading potentially offering an opportunity to cement their position in the Champions League qualifying places.
"The Premier League this season from third place to tenth is very, very tight this year and the teams are separated by just four or five points," Villas-Boas said.
"After the Christmas fixtures it can all look very different so it's important for us to break out from the pack and join the top. But we need to know it won't be easy, but if we keep on this good form we can distance ourselves a little bit.
"But the margin of seven or eight points in the Premier League means nothing."
Tottenham started slowly in what is Villas-Boas' first campaign in charge, but have begun to appear increasingly assured.
According to the former Porto and Chelsea coach, injuries and the departure of some key personnel played a major role in Spurs' indifferent early season form.
"We lost Younes (Kaboul), we lost Gareth (Bale), (Moussa) Dembele, (Scott) Parker, (Benoit) Assou- Ekotto, Rafa (Rafael van der Vaart) and (Luka) Modric," he said.
"All of these players who played well last season, so this is a new team for Spurs.
"We had injuries to some players so to have them back now is a major boost. Benoit is not far off, Michael Dawson is returning next week, as is Gareth.
"Scott in back now so we have increased competition for players. But it will be the first time we have some players available, so it will be a massive boost."
Tottenham's next match is at home to Stoke City on Saturday. Stoke in the past have presented a physical test that Spurs have often failed. Now is the time for AVB to establish himself to the White Hart Lane faithful. Win all four matches, take 12 huge points and cement the club as real challengers for the UEFA Champions League.
If the Portuguese manager can achieve this, the Chelsea factor will slowly disappear and he can concentrate on becoming his own self instead of a Blue reject who couldn't hack a season at Stamford Bridge. The next 2 weeks could be the most important fortnight of his young managerial career. Is he up to the task? I believe so but then again I thought he'd be a huge succes in West London.
AVB please make me look right!