Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Alan Green: Spurs can reach top four under Andre Villas-Boas’ guidance

Andre Villas-Boas

Tottenham: before I address Andre Villas-Boas, I must re-iterate that I didn’t understand why Harry Redknapp was ushered through the exit door in the first place.

Was it the depressing run of results for Spurs in the climax to last season?

If so, I hold the Football Association largely to blame for that. They were happy to leave alone the speculation over Redknapp and the England job which had to be unsettling for the manager and his players.

Did they care in their lone pursuit of Roy Hodgson?

Was Redknapp responsible for Chelsea winning the Champions League and thereby denying Tottenham the place they’d clinched by finishing fourth? If so, how stupid is that logic?

Was there a rift between the manager and the Chairman Daniel Levy? If so, knowing Levy, I know who I’d side with.

So, whatever…Redknapp is out of work and Villas-Boas has replaced him. Now I don’t think that the Portuguese made only smart moves at Chelsea.

Yes, he was charged with changing the guard but, sometimes, he was let down by poor man-management — I still shudder at the memory of the ‘statement’ he made selecting that eleven in Naples.

Nevertheless, his obvious vanity aside, I thought him a natural choice for White Hart Lane: as he would have been at Anfield if he hadn’t taken the huff that the Fenway Group fully intended to talk to other candidates. Villas-Boas IS an excellent young manager.

So to read the rubbish, sorry report, on Sunday morning that he had three matches to save his job seemed utterly ridiculous to me.

Not even Daniel Levy is that stupid.

What I then witnessed at Reading was, by and large, a superb Spurs’ display. Only some poor finishing, rectified later, prevented a scenario that saw the home side obliterated by half-time.

Everywhere, I saw positives for Tottenham, aside from that hideous away strip. Friedel showed why he remains Number one in a quartet of goalkeepers anyone of whom could play in the first team.

Dembele, the man of the match, looked cheap at £15m: Sigurdsson likewise. And Defoe? Yes, he could have scored four instead of two but you saw in the way he played as a lone striker ample justification for his England selection.

Tottenham looked good everywhere on the pitch and I particularly liked the way Bale and Lennon weren’t confined to the flanks. Spurs’ tactical formation may have been the result of dossiers — what’s wrong with that Harry? — but they looked as fluent as they ever did under the previous incumbent. Under Villas-Boas, I can see Tottenham at least threatening a place in the top four.

Of course, he still needs to handle aspects of his ‘management’ better: trying to flog Michael Dawson merely days after touting him as a possible club captain; signing Hugo Lloris and then not spelling out to the Frenchman that he’d have to wait a while before, inevitably, replacing Friedel.

However, if I supported Spurs, I’d be happy, not concerned, about the prospects for the coming season.

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