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Spurs boss confident side can bounce back despite derby destruction

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wire Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA wire

Monday, November 19, 2012
6:35 AM

Andre Villas-Boas insists Tottenham’s season will not fall to pieces despite their humiliating north London derby defeat.

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Tottenham’s ambition of finishing above Arsenal was made to look like nothing but a pipe dream yesterday after they were routed 5-2 by their bitter rivals at the Emirates Stadium.

Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring after 10 minutes but he then ruined his team’s chances of securing an upset when he was sent off for a reckless sliding tackle on Santi Cazorla.

The dismissal triggered a meltdown that ended with Arsenal romping to victory thanks to goals from Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Cazorla and Theo Walcott.

Yet Villas-Boas exuded confidence after the match - even claiming the result flattered Arsenal - and is adamant that his team will not be crushed by the defeat.

“When you are poor, it can do damage, but when you play like this I don’t think it can,” the Tottenham manager said.

When asked whether he thought the result flattered Arsenal, Villas-Boas said: “A little bit, because we were playing three against three at the back.

“The result looks like Arsenal were a very attacking side but it’s down to circumstances in the game.

“One team is losing, tries to invert the result, exposes themselves a bit more and is playing with 10 men, with three at the back.

“That obviously makes a difference but we took on the challenge, we risked it and that’s why we are proud of each other.

“It’s extremely difficult to play here. Had we suffered one more goal, it wouldn’t change what we felt.

“We felt we had a go. We felt that things that could have fallen our way fell Arsenal’s way.

“We compliment Arsenal for the result but we have a lot of belief in each other.”

Villas-Boas said before the game that he hope Adebayor’s determination to get one over his former employers would help propel his team to what would have been a morale-boosting win.

But the Tottenham boss also admitted the move could backfire and that was definitely the case yesterday.

From the moment he was snubbed by his former team-mates in the tunnel before the match, it was clear that the adrenaline was pumping through the Togo striker’s veins.

His goading of the home support following his goal only served to anger the Arsenal fans, who booed him throughout the 17 minutes he was on the pitch.

Villas-Boas thinks Howard Webb was right to dismiss Adebayor, but he said the thought there was nothing malicious in the striker’s studs-up challenge.

“He didn’t go in to challenge for Cazorla. He went for the ball,” Villas-Boas added.

“This can happen to any player. Situations in games are difficult.

“It was the right decision (from Webb). It was a 50-50 challenge. You want your players to play with ambition and go for balls and these challenges can happen.”

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Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Lilywhites.

Ground: White Hart Lane (capacity 36,310).

Founded: 1882.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1951, 1961

Second Division: 1920, 1950.

Southern League: 1900.

FA Cup: 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991.

League Cup: 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008.

Uefa Cup: 1972, 1984.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1963.

Leading goalscorers: Jimmy Greaves, 379.

Leading appearances: Steve Perryman, 854.