Villas-Boas undaunted by Spurs trip to Man Utd
The jury is still out on Andre Villas-Boas but whether or not the Portuguese coach goes on to re-stock Tottenham Hotspur’s trophy cabinet, he will succeed or fail by sticking to his beliefs.
Unbeaten since the opening day of the Premier League season at Newcastle United, Tottenham travel to second-placed Manchester United on Saturday when Villas-Boas could win over the sceptics or simply hand them more ammunition to fire his way.
One thing is sure, the 34-year-old will not go there with any sense of inferiority even if England’s most decorated manager Alex Ferguson will be directing operations in the home dugout.
Villas-Boas even risked the Scot’s wrath by suggesting United get the better of refereeing decisions at Old Trafford.
“I certainly will have no problems expressing myself at Old Trafford,” the Tottenham boss told reporters when asked if some young coaches were in awe of Ferguson. “I have no problem with that.”
Pushed on whether United got the benefit of close decisions at home, the London club’s media officer attempted to gag his coach but Villas-Boas refused to be silenced.
Asked if United are given beneficial treatment at home by match officials, he replied: “It’s an interesting question. It’s a question that in this country is impossible to respond to.
“It would be good if we could respond but last year I received a very hard fine and I won’t make the same mistake again.”
Villas-Boas does not lack confidence and hopes that will rub off on his team as they try and win at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989.
Eighth-placed Spurs will not, he said, go there to try and steal a point.
“We will go there to play open football,” added Villas-Boas who a year ago sent his then-Chelsea side to Old Trafford playing gung-ho football only to unluckily trail 3-0 at halftime.
“I think that is the way I like my teams to play. We all know it’s difficult to do it but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance when you play that way.
“Going to Old Trafford is a difficult trip and what we want to do is to get something that will make us feel proud. That would be going there to get a win — ending that statistic.”
Villas-Boas will bargain on having a little more time to get things right at Tottenham than he did at Chelsea where he was sacked in March after less than nine months in charge.
However, he said the days of coaches creating “dynasties”, like Ferguson has done at Old Trafford and Arsene Wenger has managed at Arsenal, are over.
“If there was one person I would have expected to have a dynasty ... it was (Rafa) Benitez at Liverpool but it didn’t happen,” added Villas-Boas referring to the Spaniard dismissed in 2010 after spending six years at Anfield.
“It’s difficult in this country. David Moyes at Everton is reaching a legacy but we won’t see many examples like this.”
Still to prove himself in English football after a disappointing spell at Chelsea, Villas-Boas has learned some Ferguson-like methods for dealing with the media.
He put one radio reporter firmly in his place when it was suggested that France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, an expensive signing in August, was frustrated after being left out for the League Cup win at Carlisle United on Wednesday.
“Who said he is frustrated?”, Villas-Boas said. “You?.
“He’s not frustrated. I talk to him every day at training. He knows the situation and he’s happy here.”
Brad Friedel will return between the posts on Saturday after Carlo Cudicini stood in on Wednesday while Jermain Defoe is to start up front after being rested in midweek.
Defoe has vindicated Villas-Boas’s faith in him after he slipped down the pecking order under former manager Harry Redknapp.
“He is extremely happy,” said the Portuguese. “For strikers goals are decisive and he has four in the Premier League and he has been creating so much too.
“He is getting the continuous opportunities that he didn’t have in the past.”