December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Tom Moore
Monday, November 5, 2012
Andre Villas-Boas must be given time to mould Tottenham into the side of his own image.
The Portuguese boss has not had it easy, taking charge and having to deal with a wantaway Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart.
Even despite these departures, Spurs sit fifth in the Premier League with just over a quarter of the season gone, just behind Everton on goal difference.
But the Portuguese boss has yet to convince the fans that he is the man to take the Lilywhites to the next level after chairman Daniel Levy dispensed with Harry Redknapp.
Reports have suggested that some fans shouted ‘Bring back Harry’ towards the directors box but a move like that will be a backwards step.
Villas-Boas has brought through youngsters like Steven Caulker, who might not have been given his chance under the old regime.
Jermain Defoe has been given a new lease of life, although the England international was clearly unhappy at being taken off against Wigan.
And then there was the historic victory at Manchester United, ending a 23 year winless run at Old Trafford.
He deserves credit for that and it is in keeping with the style that Levy wants to see played at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham were poor against the Latics, that is an unarguable point and the fans let him and the players know that performances of that calibre are unacceptable at headquarters.
Many Spurs fans were shocked and confused as to why Defoe was replaced by Emmanuel Adebayor just after Wigan had taken the lead.
Villas-Boas was unrepentant after the game, believing that the England international was struggling to gain a foothold in the game – he was right on that front. Defoe had a quiet game and did not seriously test Ali Al Habsi in the Wigan goal once.
But the head coach should not shoulder all the blame. As Brad Friedel said, the players, themselves, must look at themselves in the mirror after a poor performance.
The American is right. A side of Tottenham’s ability should be beating the likes of Wigan comfortably at White Hart Lane and it is only three years since they put nine past the Latics.
With every defeat though, credit must be given to the opposition and Roberto Martinez produced a tactical masterclass to stop Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon on the wings.
That shut down Spurs’ main attacking outlets and Al Habsi only had to save the Welshman’s long range effort in a comfortable day at the office for the Oman international.
Despite the doom and gloom, it’s important to remember that other sides are yet to click into gear with Arsenal and Newcastle both below Tottenham.
Thursday sees a distraction from league action with Maribor coming to N17 for match-day four of the Europa League and a win there will banish the memories of Saturday’s defeat.
The competition helped make Villas-Boas at Porto and his side are only a couple of victories from qualifying.
A trip to Manchester City follows and that will be a daunting test for the Lilywhites but they should go into it without fear.
Defoe nearly won it for them in the dying minutes before an even later Mario Balotelli penalty gave the Citizens a dramatic win.
Then, it’s the trip to Arsenal and Villas-Boas will know that a win against Gunners at the Emirates on November 17 will buy him a lot of patience with the fans.