Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

AVB prepares to face Spurs fans

Andre Villas-Boas criticised Spurs fans for not getting behind their players during the 1-0 win over Hull

Andre Villas-Boas will gauge how his criticism of Tottenham fans has gone down on Wednesday when Hull return to White Hart Lane in the Capital One Cup.

The Tottenham manager criticised Spurs fans for not getting behind their players during the 1-0 win over Hull in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.

Villas-Boas said both he and the players were unhappy about the "negative" atmosphere which he thinks made it feel like Spurs were the away team at White Hart Lane.

Reaction to Villas-Boas' outburst in internet forums so far has been mixed. Some supporters claim Spurs need to start playing more attractive football if they are to get more vocal backing at White Hart Lane, while others agree with the manager and have called on the fans to increase the volume for the fourth-round game, which is close to a sell-out.

One way Villas-Boas can appease the disgruntled fans is by taking the team on a run in the cup competitions.

The 35-year-old put a lot of emphasis on trying to win the Europa League last season and, as a result, his team suffered an early exit to Leeds in the FA Cup and a fourth-round knockout in the Capital One Cup by Norwich.

But with over £100million invested in seven new signings this summer, the Portuguese believes it could be a very different story for Spurs in the cups this season.

"We will introduce changes but the difference this season is that we have the quality available to throw in a very good team," the Tottenham manager said.

"We will definitely do lots of changes because the schedule has been quite tight. We will have played Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday.

"We want to continue to do well and we have a responsibility at home to go through.

"We have the team to do it, so naturally the changes will happen."

Erik Lamela has struggled to impress since his £30million move from Roma, but he will get another chance to make an impression on Wednesday with a rare start.

Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nacer Chadli are expected to get a run out while Brad Friedel is likely to replace Hugo Lloris in goal.

Villas-Boas also has a selection dilemma up front. Jermain Defoe has scored eight goals in the cup competitions this term, but Roberto Soldado is short of goals from open play and could start alongside the England international if Villas-Boas decides to ditch the 4-2-3-1 formation he has deployed all season.

Another intriguing idea would be starting with Emmanuel Adebayor alongside Defoe.

Two seasons ago, Spurs won seven of the eight games that Adebayor and Defoe started together, with the pair chipping in 10 goals between them.

Last season they scored nine in 11 games as a strike partnership, but Adebayor has not played for the club this season.

Adebayor was told he could leave in the summer and Villas-Boas made him train with the development squad last month.

The former Arsenal striker was on the bench for last week's Europa League victory in Moldova, though, and could be called upon for the meeting with Hull, who are likely to get men behind the ball again just as they did on Sunday.

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