Tottenham currently sit fifth on the Premier League table, two points behind Arsenal with a game in hand. Andre Villas-Boas and his men will look to sub-plant their London rivals in the race for the Champions League spot.
This weekend, we saw Spurs take a slender 1-0 win over Southampton – thanks to a peacher of a goal by Gareth Bale. But all is not going Spurs’ way as they will visit another London rival and AVB’s former employers, Chelsea, this midweek.
Chelsea are in superb form under Rafael Benitez. Since their 2-2 draw against Liverpool, Chelsea have won all of their four games, including winning both legs against FC Basel in the Europa League and defeating Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford.
The Blues at Stamford Bridge is nothing but an uphill task for Andre Villas-Boas’ men and it seems like a fair test for the White Hart Lane club. Success will see them secure their top-four spot. Remember, Spurs managed to beat second-placed Manchester City 3-1 only a couple of weeks ago.
Heading into the most important week of Spurs’ season, their manager Andre Villas-Boas spoke to Yahoo as part of their deal with the League Managers Association. In the interview, Villas-Boas talked about his Premier League experience with Spurs this season, how his football ideology has worked at White Hart Lane and the club and his ambitions.
Andre Villas-Boas interview
Question: We are fast approaching the end of an impressive first season for you as Tottenham manager, how have you found the experience?
Andre Villas-Boas: Extremely good, it’s good to be back in England after last year. I’ve been very well received by everybody, particularly this group of players whose drive and ambition towards achieving results has been tremendous.
This season we have competed hard in the Europa League to see how far we could go, and everything is still to play for in the Premier League. The Europa League was a good experience, we had a change of attitude towards the competition and that has been an extremely good thing for everybody.
On a personal note the season has been good for me, that’s not what matters most, though, the club is what matters most and their ambitions and desire to move forward. Hopefully we have been able to meet some of the fans’ expectations too.
Q: How did you approach the challenge of instilling your new ideas at a club where perhaps previous philosophies had differed?
AVB: It becomes easier when the players are willing to commit to your ideas, they need to be able to take something from learning new things, and also enjoy learning new things that they can use in their game. All the players have received me well and when you receive that sort of openness you can create a good environment.
Q: Do you feel the team has fully realised the way you want to play or are there certain things you still want to refine?
AVB: There are always things to refine. It can be difficult sometimes because the nature of the Premier League means it is driven by passion and emotion, it is a game that can be influenced more by aspects of motivation and mindset than any other league in the world; this is what makes the Premier League the product that it is.
So, sometimes it can be difficult to set out your philosophy but like every other team we have had great games and bad games, and games where we should have expressed ourselves better. In the end, however, we have always been recognised as a team that has always been very driven, that wants to score and that is the Tottenham way.
Q: At Tottenham you have ambitious owners, a squad full of quality and a fantastic training ground, how much scope for growth do you think there is at this club?
AVB: The growth is continuing and I know that the owner and chairman are very driven in achieving the club’s aim of building a new stadium.
I think that this wonderful training ground allows the players to further flourish and develop their game. It also allows us to attract better players; it’s a great environment and a great example to the Premier League.
Q: On a personal level how do you feel you have evolved since your arrival in the English Premier League with Chelsea and Tottenham?
AVB: The experiences are different and I learned a great lesson from last year. There are things I do dramatically different and things that I do exactly the same because you still have to stay true to your principles.
The Chelsea experience allowed me to see things in a different way and helped me address the mistakes I made; that always allows you to develop on a personal and a professional level.
For more insight from Andre Villas-Boas and other leading managers plus exclusive Premier League highlights go to www.yahoo.co.uk/sport