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Contented Villas-Boas finally feels some warmth

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Phil McNulty | 20:55 UK time, Sunday, 16 September 2012

At the Madejski Stadium

The recognition came 72 minutes into Andre Villas-Boas's fourth Premier League game in charge of Tottenham, moments after Gareth Bale's scuffed shot secured his first victory.

Spurs led 2-0 at Reading and the travelling contingent of supporters felt confident enough in that margin and their manager to demand a wave from Villas-Boas.

He stepped forward to issue instructions, the trademark squat on his haunches now seemingly abandoned in favour of a straight-backed stance, and briefly raised an arm towards one corner of the Madejski Stadium as he returned to the dug-out.

Hardly lift-off in his relationship with those who view him with scepticism after succeeding Harry Redknapp.

Villas-Boas sealed his first league win as Tottenham manager

Villas-Boas sealed his first league win as Tottenham manager

Hardly a fall into the warm embrace of his new followers - but recognition all the same, and no doubt welcomed by a manager under a unique form of pressure.

It was a shaft of warmth after a somewhat frosty start, White Hart Lane having shown its displeasure at draws with West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City.

Villas-Boas arrived at Reading to a backdrop of speculation that his position was already under scrutiny and the next three games could shape his destiny. It was the sort of territory he seems to have staked out almost permanently since he arrived at Chelsea at the start of last season.

He insisted he was in a state of blissful ignorance of such matters because he does not read newspapers. And he was certainly satisfied enough after an emphatic Spurs display that produced enough evidence to suggest players are buying the ideas Villas-Boas has been selling them.

Nor did Villas-Boas waste any time on a perceived jibe from his predecessor Redknapp who had claimed - colourfully, shall we say - in an interview that modern managers with "70-page dossiers" could baffle players.

Of course one victory hardly wipes away doubts about the Portuguese that remain from his flawed spell at Chelsea, especially against a Reading team that understandably looked off the pace following a 25-day break from competitive football.

But there was a purpose, shape and fluidity about Spurs, especially in midfield, that ensured Villas-Boas was sporting a smile that looked like it might have to be surgically removed after the final whistle.

It is a nonsense that any manager's future should be examined after three games, but there is no doubt Villas-Boas has a credibility gap to make up, given the turbulence at Stamford Bridge and the fact that he was replacing a popular manager who took Spurs to fourth last season.

He is also working with a powerful personality and chairman in Daniel Levy, so it is natural the dynamics of their relationship will be studied closely.

Villas-Boas was a feisty, confrontational individual at Chelsea and by the time he left was not winning any popularity contests - but now is his chance to fashion a new team at White Hart Lane while demonstrating personal lessons have been learned.

He showed strength of character and good man-management in insisting 41-year-old goalkeeper Brad Friedel would not be instantly replaced by France captain Hugo Lloris, after the latter arrived in a deal that could cost almost £12m.

No matter that Spurs could have played without a goalkeeper for large portions of this win - two goals from Jermain Defoe with Bale's between them was scant reward for how far superior they were to Reading - the decision to back Friedel was an illustration that form not price tags will be his guide. His players will surely appreciate that policy if Villas-Boas sticks to it.

The context must be provided by how poor Reading were, although Brian McDermott's side will have better days ahead, but there was plenty for Villas-Boas to be content about as the bus pulled out of Reading.

Sandro and Mousa Dembele formed a central midfield partnership of power and threat, the latter in particular seeming to have a selection of higher gears to slip into. Gylfi Sigurdsson, warmly received by Reading fans after his spell there, was also progressive and showed his quality with a wonderful sliding pass that helped Aaron Lennon set up Defoe's first.

Lennon may also cause some of Villas-Boas's luxurious locks to turn grey before their time, but his partnership with Kyle Walker has burning pace, while Bale will provide creativity and goals on the other flank.

Defoe, meanwhile, seems reborn in the lone striker role. Never doubted as an instinctive finisher, here he worked tirelessly for the team as well as doing what comes naturally. Villas-Boas could not have been more lavish in his praise of the striker, again something an important player will appreciate.

It means no easy route back for Emmanuel Adebayor just yet and new boy Clint Dempsey was restricted to a 12-minute run-out as a substitute with the game comfortably put to bed.

So while one win hardly ushers in the new era, a start has at least been made and Villas-Boas now knows there is good will waiting to come his way from Spurs fans.
He announced he would "come out of Reading very satisfied". And who can blame him?

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Spurs fans are singing when their winning.

    At any other time they are whining and booing - the most fickle fans in the league.

  • Comment number 2.

    I hope AVB is given time, really interested to see if he can deliver

  • Comment number 3.

    It was too early to criticize him and certainly too early to praise him...he needs the benefit of the doubt for a few months to see if his ideas work...whatever revisionists think of Harry he gave up a 13 point lead last year whist he dreamt of the England post...this was not acceptable to any of us.
    I hope that AVB turns out to be a great manager but it was ridiculous that he was being criticized after 3 games with many new faces present

  • Comment number 4.

    Great win, hopefully we can see the likes of Adebayor, Dempsey, Caulker, Dawson, and Lloris against Lazio.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm certainly hopeful of what AVB. There were a few concerns with Harry (a) he rarely played or tried developing the youngsters or even players on form - he had his favourites (b) it often looked like there was no plan b - if spurs were up against he was too quick to write it off as "one of those days" (c) our goals came mostly from either counterattacks or through wide play where lennon and bale would cross it in - if the other team sat back and kept lennon and bale in check we could not even buy a goal. That was why today was encouraging the link up play, the movement. Here's hoping that this is the start of a good run.

  • Comment number 6.

    i'd love to see how we are fickle @1 the fact we are dissapointed with west brom and Norwich doesn't make us fickle, deluded if I may say so.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure about Villas-Boas - Spurs were pretty awful against Norwich. We will know more when they play a top team.

  • Comment number 8.

    Big fan of AVB. Glad the game worked out today for Spurs. The midfield trio looked solid and Sigurdsson's pass was sublime. Great to see Spurs go with this formation, especially having Defoe as a lone man up front, proving you don't need a big number 9 or a big guy to help the little guy.
    May this be the first of many wins

  • Comment number 9.

    We beat Reading and it's all okay?! There's a long, long way to go before AVB earns his stripes...

  • Comment number 10.

    Reading still look like a Championship team. Likely to be relegated in my opinion.

  • Comment number 11.

    No one has ever lost every EPL game. Beating Reading who just don't seem ready for EPL football is hardly a ringing endorsement.

    I think AVB is still massively over-rated by EPL chairmen. Nowhere near the talent of mid-table managers like Moyes and O'Neil.

    He's racing Brendan Rogers out of the door.

  • Comment number 12.

    @5. bldspur

    Great post describes harrys era spot on.........interesting to see Defoe has got a new lease of life with AVB and we will now see what he can do with a manager that really believes in him.

  • Comment number 13.

    Defoe missed many goals though, still needs to be less stingy.

  • Comment number 14.

    Some interesting games this weekend. Arsenal thrashing Southampton, Stoke getting a deserved point against Man City.

    Funny moment of the week has to be Welbeck and his comedy dive. Maybe he was inspired watching Tom Daley at the Olympics?

  • Comment number 15.

    #1 will he last as long as Roy Hodgson did at Liverpool?

  • Comment number 16.

    To be fair Reading probably played their worst game of the season today. It was like watching a Sunday league side at times. When Spurs come up against teams playing well then they can judge how good a job AVB is doing!! Judging on this game alone is ridiculous!!

  • Comment number 17.

    @14

    BaggiosPonytail wrote:

    Funny moment of the week has to be Welbeck and his comedy dive. Maybe he was inspired watching Tom Daley at the Olympics?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Welbeck is a serial diver and will unfortunately get United 4 to 6 points at least this season with his diving.

    But what a contrast Defoe makes he could have gone down a few times today but didn't.

  • Comment number 18.

    @17 Sams Town

    Yes Welbeck seems to have picked up the baton from Young this season. At least Al Habsi saved the penalty so justice was done.

    Hernandez looks like a shadow of the player he did a couple of years ago and Welbeck isn't that convincing. Utd will definitely be hoping Van Persie does not pick up any more injuries this season.

  • Comment number 19.

    Usual reactionary article. It was Reading, a team very likely to be in or near relegation all season. Let's see if they can challenge the big 4 as they were last season. I doubt it.

  • Comment number 20.

    Wonder if Phil was at the game. I was, and it didn't take until the second goal to get behind the manager - we were all singing 'AVB's blue and white army' from minute one.

  • Comment number 21.

    @7 Baggiosponytail

    I beg to differ. Most team's season depends on how they do against every team but the top teams. Pointless beating Chelsea one week and drawing with/losing against e.g. Stoke, QPR & Fulham the next three matches. Ask Liverpool fans; it's how their season went last year.
    We will know more by November, I'd say, and that goes for Reading too. Today they were abysmal with no attacking threat and Spurs could(should?) have had at least 4 by half-time. The thing with newly-promoted teams is that it's essential to get points on the board early otherwise there's a danger that they could lose heart and really fall by the wayside like Derby and Sunderland did a while ago. It will be interesting to see how it pans out though...

  • Comment number 22.

    @18 BaggiosPonytail

    I agree Van Persies form will be a crucial factor he has been great for 18 months ......how long can it last.

    As for spurs I think Gallas is a weak link at centre back..

  • Comment number 23.

    Jeez, it's funny how fickle footie fans can be...it was only the second game in, and the Arse fans were clambouring for Wenger's head because they hadn't scored a goal - next thing you know, some of them are annointing them Premier League Champions because they've put six goals past Southampton at home! And yet, Spurs put in a hell of a performance against Reading, and it's dismissed because it's only Reading...
    At the end of the day, AVB needed the win - he got the win. And regardless of anyone from the BBC or whoever trying to jump on the so-called "fact" from an article from the media that AVB had three games to save his job, Levy can come across as an egotistical fool sometimes, but not even he is stoopid enough to jepordise the future of THFC on a "hunch" on giving the job to someone who's not up for it. As a Spurs fan, I'm annoyed that 'arry lost the job, but I'm still reserving judgement on a manager/coach who not so long ago was deemed to be one of the youngest, smartest, brightest coaches in the game.
    Give him a chance - that's what he deserves.

  • Comment number 24.

    @21 ShadyPinesEscapee

    You make a good point.

    If you look at Spurs season so far they have lost to a team at about their level (Newcastle), drawn with two teams who will probably finish lower than them and beaten a team that will probably be in a relegation scrap this season. I suppose they are not expected to beat Man Utd but sometimes a team raise their game against the top sides.

    Like you say we will know more after 10 games or so.

  • Comment number 25.

    The only improvement for Spurs is in midfield, they now have the energy over 90 mins, a far cry from last season. VDV was a good example, no matter how good he was, he barely lasted 70 min. With Dembele [a good all round midfielder] they are more direct which should mean their undoubted pace is bought into play.

    But it is the attacking style [great to watch in full flow] which would concern me, it's not the number of goals in the team. But the fact that it will leave Tottenham exposed especially against the better teams.

  • Comment number 26.

    It's good to have a win on the board, though we'll need to keep the momentum going. But from todays performance you can see the players getting used to AVB's way of thinking/playing.

    Can you believe that's only our 2nd away win of 2012, and people say Harry should not have been sacked. Cheers for the good times Harry, but AVB will hopefully be here for many years to come.

  • Comment number 27.

    "At any other time they are whining and booing - the most fickle fans in the league."

    You clearly haven't listened to many Liverpool fans lately

  • Comment number 28.

    For the first time in ages, someone told Bale to play where he is at his best - on the left side. Harry decided to try him in the floating role which failed. Today, Bale and Lennon looked very good; and you know with Defoe in the middle a couple of the chances will end up in the back of the net.

    I fear for Reading. Harte, their dead ball specialist, is their weak link at the back. Put a fast winger (Lennon today, but Walcott, Sinclair, Nani, Hazard etc) and he looked in trouble. I loved the lad at Leeds (best Fantasy Football defender ever) but he looked poor.

    But well done AVB. Just work on the goal celebration a bit more, and stop making my Mrs watch for "that other good looking manager from Portugal"!

  • Comment number 29.

    Hopefully this win will get Spurs fans to at least stop making WHL feel like an away ground. Seriously, the guy deserves a fair chance, certainly more than 3 games. He's also lost his best player in Modric.

  • Comment number 30.

    It strikes me that once the Chairman made his decision (and give him credit for making it - if he didn't think Harry was the right man to take Spurs forward) he has to put his faith in whoever he appoints as a successor. If Spurs have selected AVB to be that man then he has to do his job to the best of his ability and ultimately stamp his managerial and coaching prowess on a team renowned for its footballing flair but sometimes its naivety and lack of 'get up and go'. As an avid Spurs fan living in NZ (where I might say we enjoy a great following!) the signings all look to be pretty decent. Our downfall last season was an inability to put away lowly teams and equally take enough points off the teams around us. At least West Brom (riding high on the crest of their own new appointment) and Norwich didn't sneak 3 points when we played - which has happened in the recent past. I'm hoping we're in the top 6 or 7 and in touch points-wise when the turn of the year comes. Man U - like a steely steeplechaser is always on the shoulder of the leading team around that time - just waiting for the little slip-ups....if that's us this season maybe the CL is a realistic goal, and would fully justify Levy and his appointment.

  • Comment number 31.

    fabr3gas @28

    Harte seems to have been around for ever and your 100% correct any of the pace players with ability will do him every time.

    Decent player in his day though.

  • Comment number 32.

    "It is a nonsense that any manager's future should be examined after three games". Try telling that to the people in charge of Palermo, manager appointed in June, in charge of three league games and then sacked. I hope Premier League chairman don't start to copy the Italians!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Liverpool still dont look like winning any game soon.

  • Comment number 34.

    Kudos for MOTD2 - listing the names of the victims. Shame on MOTD1, the flagship for doing a spit and polish job.

    Good god hard to be an Addick. Friday's game was described on football league show as good. Well I was there and it was a team playing garbage who had a goal unfairly disallowed (Charlton) against a team playing slightly less garbage who scored from crap defending. Neither deserved any points, and this is a step up from league one? Hmm.

    But I remain optimistic.

  • Comment number 35.

    1167.
    At 22:05 14th Sep 2012, Superstar_Pablo_Aimar wrote:


    1157. At 18:27 14th Sep 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    Some interesting posts today, particularly about the lifestyle of footballers and the use of drugs in the sport.

    A few I found very funny - "phone call" to John Terry's dad had me in stitches.
    _________________________

    You were quite lucky because the gestapo, err I mean, BBC mods quickly censored it!

    Still, onwards and upwards. Drastic must be gutted tonight losing to bitter rivals. I'll have a beer for you!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cheers mate. I had several that night. Totally gutted.

  • Comment number 36.

    Londoner, you still up brother?

  • Comment number 37.

    Drastic

    what did you think of the game on friday. I streamed it

  • Comment number 38.

    drastic

    i just read the one above from you

    I didn't want to say the same as you but i do agtree

  • Comment number 39.

    I must have been watching a different game. Spurs look nothing like the side of the last few years. Reading will struggle.
    Bale was floating, that's the problem. He thinks he has to because the midfield isn't there anymore.
    It looks like Spurs before Harry made them into a CL chasing squad with Modric and VDV. Now it's back to Defoe. What happens when he stops scoring which he inevitably does. Mid table at best.
    AVB is hopeless.

  • Comment number 40.

    38 Londoner

    So bad. I saw about 8 or 9 games at Charlton last season and Friday's game seemed like league 2 standard compared to that. There was about 10 minutes towards the end of the first half where we looked OK and 10 minutes towards the end of the second half where we actually strung a few passes together but the whole thing was garbage personified. I know you said that there looks like a few yeams worse then us in the Championship but on that game's basis it was embarrasing and if we don't shape up, back to League 1. And Palace played awful too, but their fans were pretty cool that night, as much as I hate to admit it. full voiced, South East London was theres on Friday, no doubt.

  • Comment number 41.

    drastic

    the games i dislike the most are derby games, although i was at Stoke on Saturday, when i got home i watched a rerun of Rangers and Chelsea, def not a good game, your right the Charlton game, wasn't good either.

    Everton/LFC games are usually poor, 100mph battles. The Birmingham Derbies are the same.

    Most of them have an importance placed on them beforehand, which ensures the games are played beyond the teams normal play. Supporters expectancy and demands i think add to the effect.

    Ot of all of them, the games involving Arsenal are probably the only games i enjoy.

  • Comment number 42.

    41

    Londoner

    Agree with you there. Derby games seldom live up to the hype, but going down on the train amongst a bunch of Palace fans does get the blood up.And there was a mouthy Millwall fan there too! Fair play to the palace boys, a wheel chair user, Charlton fan got on and they treated him like royalty so nice touch.

    Still nothing like being there in the flesh, and despite the moved fixturrly for Sky purposes got nearl 22'000 - just wished they had served up a better show.

  • Comment number 43.

    drastic @42

    Agree with you there. Derby games seldom live up to the hype, but going down on the train amongst a bunch of Palace fans does get the blood up.And there was a mouthy Millwall fan there too! Fair play to the palace boys, a wheel chair user, Charlton fan got on and they treated him like royalty so nice touch.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That is good to see.

    But i meant what i said about that league, you will obviously get 1/2 or even 3 a class above but in general most will all beat each other.

    It's the consistency level for most of them, they just can't maintain a level of performance for too long.

  • Comment number 44.

    Londoner

    Just to say that, despite our misgivings derby games can be great. I remember several years ago during our PL days a 4-4 draw with West Ham. amazing stuff. I think Ian Wright spoke some truth when he says that it is not just about having more English players but having more Londoners (talking about spurs v gunners) so they feel it in their blood how important to win. That goes back to what I harp on about, supporting your local club - if the players were local derby games would have genuine fire beyond Sky picking 2 teams close to each other and saying 'fight'

  • Comment number 45.

    43 Londoner

    Well that ain't us but I can live with staying up. No reationary statements, a top 20 finsh is fine. I give Powell whatever time he needs, always looks slick in his suit on the touch line.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm puzzled as to why Tottenham, having lost Modric, decided to sell Van der Vaart. Surely they could have kept the Dutchman. Once Real or Barca want a player, the loss is practically inevitable, but Hamburg? Any Spurs fans or anyone have any thoughts on this? I personally think VDV is a fantastic player.

  • Comment number 47.

    drastic

    It's amazing as a neutral, watching those games.

    Every season since i've lived up here, I've been to at least one Everton/LFC game and every time football has gone out of the window. The ferocity of some tackles, makes you wonder how they get so fired up.

    As I said i was at the Stoke/City game, not a great game but several incidents, especially the elbow and Crouch's goal.

    I was going to the Bolton game but got a freebie for Stoke, it's only 40 miles away but it took me 2 1/2 hrs to get there.

  • Comment number 48.

    Londoner in exile returns. 41

    The Manchester derbies at least have been interesting in one way or another lately, though for me the Merseyside derby is almost always a terrible game. Usually more cards than completed passes. No offence to Liverpool or Everton - I generally enjoy the football of both teams outside this fixture. I would agree that that the London derbies involving Arsenal are in general the least painful spectacles.

  • Comment number 49.

    summersiron

    I'm puzzled as to why Tottenham, having lost Modric, decided to sell Van der Vaart.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He wanted to go and he's gone back to a club where he done very well in the past.

    He never really lasted the full 90 mins here but i'd agree with most, a top notch player on his day.

  • Comment number 50.

    Londoner

    You are lucky with the current PL north dominance to have so many games close by. League 1 had a North dominance last year, as does the Championship this year. We will probably go to Watford and Brighton but the rest is too far for my travels.

    I'd honestly like to go to a game with you though mate. Maybe meet up in the Midlands LOL

  • Comment number 51.

    summersiron

    Yep i was at the one Rodwell got sent off, no intent and very little contact, probably didn't even deserve a booking.

    But i think there had been so many crunchers before that, the ref seemed to say 'i've had enough of it' and sent him off.

  • Comment number 52.

    drastic

    Maybe meet up in the Midlands LOL
    -------------------------------------------

    The thought crossed my mind and i had to have a laugh, wondering what would happen if a few of the posters on here actually watched a match together.

    Mind you it would have to be a neutral game. But i treat every match the same apart from a Brentford game.

    As for the midlands apart from Villa it's my least favourite area to watch matches. I ocassionally go to the Baggies it's double the distance than what it is to Stoke but takes less time.

  • Comment number 53.

    Londoner

    Well if you and shadow warrior did you would need seperate stands!

    True about the neutral ground. A lot of top 6 angry fans.

    My girlfriend is from the West Midlands and every time we are on family duty I think about doing a West Midlands game. You must have one ground to recommend?

  • Comment number 54.

    Drastic

    Villa, I don't know what it is but I do find the vast majority of Villa supporters to be fair minded.

    Don't take this the wrong way but i guess it's rather like Charlton or Brentford and many others, not the size. But an understanding of exactly what to expect from their football club. Some good years followed by some bad without those illusions of grandeur and the we automatically deserve success types.

    But isn't that what makes the lesser clubs [no matter what league] supporters great, they follow their club with hope rather than demand.

  • Comment number 55.

    Drastic


    As for shadow, i don't have a clue to what planet he hails from.

    I loved his view on my punting football

    I know hundreds [he would know some too] who aimlessly bet on football every week, something I would never do but he thinks it's terrible for someone to take it seriously and do it for a living.

  • Comment number 56.

    Londoner

    Villa has won the prize. Next time I am up there, I am coinciding it with an AV home game.

    Don't worry about the PC mate. We should all be realistic as to where we are. And as a red robbin I fully expect to be roundly disappointed. But we had the best part of the noughties in the PL, even finsihed 7th, and maybe under C.P. we can get back there. But till then I will break up the blogs with Championship stuff just to remind the rest that football is more then just the PL

  • Comment number 57.

    Shame about SW actually. I backed him but some of his comments got real xenophobic. I think a few people were pushing him, but it got hard to read some of his stuff.

  • Comment number 58.

    Drastic @56

    Too right and good for you,

    When i was born Charlton had not long won an FA cup. You know the old saying what happened once can happen again, maybe not for a while but maybe.

    I gave up telling people some time ago that Brentford won the cup, i admit it was a wartime cup but it still counts. They were also the great Arsenal team of the 30's bogie side, Arsenal couldn't beat them. God I've lived on that for years haha

  • Comment number 59.

    58 Londoner

    Keep that vibe mate. I think Charlton won one of those inter-war cups too, And was looking like potential champions during the 1939-40 season. Damn that WW2.

    Maybe they should revive the London cup, even pre-season, just so we could all have a go? Nuff respect for the capital's minnows. Even thinking about going to see my local non-league london side - just for the love of football...

  • Comment number 60.

    Sorry - when I said inter-war I meant 'during the war' cups

  • Comment number 61.

    Sorry but the Lloris situation showed good man-management skills? While I agree he was right, he did it the same cack-handed way he managed Chelsea, so it meant he got one really annoyed £12 million goalkeeper on his hands.

  • Comment number 62.

    English fans are like "The Woman in a relationship".... All they do is whine all day long..!

  • Comment number 63.

    Although Reading showed they may have a difficult season in the Premier League, I really liked the way Spurs were moving forward yesterday. Besides losing two leaders in Modric and VDV, they have some extraordinary talent in the team, in Bale, Lennon, Walker and an array of talented players all over the pitch. They now have competition for places even for the goalkeeper position and a good squad all round.

    Will it be enough to break into top four and play Champions League football again next season? It's a challenge because all four teams occupying those positions today have strengthened. Dembele is a very good player, able to play in a number of positions, as is Dempsey. Will a marquee play-maker be missed this season? In all honesty, if the answer is yes, it wouldn't be the manager's fault but the chairman's.

    It's early days for every club and the Premier League as a whole but what we saw yesterday at Reading is that Spurs are capable of pushing for a top four position all season long. As a football fan, besides my own club preferences, I would love to see Liverpool having a renaissance eventually and have 6 top clubs in the Premier League, allowing no manager to believe top-four is a certainty. Now that would be a great day for English football and fans.

    All in all, yesterday was an easy day in the office for Spurs, playing away and besides Reading's weaknesses as a Premiership side to date, the comfort with which Spurs won shouldn't be underestimated and was vivid for 90'.

  • Comment number 64.

    34.
    At 01:29 17th Sep 2012, Drastic wrote:

    Kudos for MOTD2 - listing the names of the victims.
    _________________________________

    Totally agree - it was a very poignant moment.

  • Comment number 65.

    This Spurs team is much better than last year's. Over time the results will prove it. Once the midfield jells it could be one of the best (if not the best) in the league. Very interesting team to watch (as a Man United supporter).

    AVB definitely has a struggle with his inferiority complex (always compared to the Special One) but the top brass at Spurs really make him feel comfortable he could do great things.

  • Comment number 66.

    baggiosponytail @64


    I thought many of the grounds this weekend showed their respect. Yesterdays game at Reading, when they played YNWA and the crowd responded with the continuous applause, was good to hear and see, a fitting tribute.

  • Comment number 67.

    The balance of the team looked much better.
    Sandro has matured as a player and you wonder how easy Scott Parker will get his place back.
    Dembele was one of the buys of the transfer window and all the Modric talk seems a distant memory (interesting how badly RM are doing!).
    AVB has a tough job on his hands keeping Adeybayour, Loris and Dempsey sweet who are all class players especially given his allegedly poor inter-personsal skills.
    Defoe looks a lika a player reborn.
    For all the kind of Father and Son thing with Harry and JD, AVB seems to be getting the best out if him.
    The EPL sees who the likely winers and losers are by December so, for any team, it's far too early to speculate.
    Also with the CL and Europa League now kicking in this will test all those involved and see who have the strongest squads.
    In this regard Spurs do have strength in depth so it will be interesting to see the starting 11 against Lazio.

  • Comment number 68.

    Spurs were lucky not to go 1-0 down when Walker handle it.
    Beating Reading is nothing to shut about, they are a newly promoted team. But spuds thinks it a new era. top 4 four finish! Don't think so, the only manager who got you in top 4 twice you sacked!
    Wonder if Defoe paid Jack yet! Or stupid enough to have punt thus season.

  • Comment number 69.

    Good to see that Spurs are not missing Modric or Parker for that matter. They looked well-drilled, composed and too sharp for Reading in every department. Gallas impressed.

  • Comment number 70.

    The Jury is still very much out. Fulham whack Norwich 5-0 and W.Brom 3-0 and we struggled against the pair of them but we beat relegation favourites easily. Before long there is going to be confrontation with unhappy players on the bench and I do not think this character can handle it.

  • Comment number 71.

    Honestly, you must be talking about a different game to me. I'm objective and like Spurs, but the first half was terrible. Sure you scored 3 goals, but one was a miskick from Bale and it was one of those days when JD is on top form, they weren't great plays, he just banged a couple in. He also goes 10+ games without scoring.
    From what I saw you definitely miss both Modric and VDV, but also Parker. #69 can't be serious.
    Again I say it looks to me like Spurs have taken 2 steps back.

    And Drastic, what sort of Charlton fan says we look like the worst side in the Champs. We'll get there and have already beaten Leicester. We won't get promoted but mid table should be ok.

  • Comment number 72.

    Yes... a win against reading is a good start..but andre villas boas has a long way to go to get the respect of the spurs fans..the team is not playing even half as flowing as they did last season..gareth bale is hardly getting into the game as much as we have seen him do in the previous seasons..the 2nd defoe goal could only have happened against a team like reading...the tests will come in the weeks to follow..and how the team fares against stronger opppsition with villas boas strategy of only playing one up front.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think the Lloris situation is bad management. No matter how good a 41 years old is, when you buy a keeper for 12million, captain of france and a top goal keeper you dont bench him for the 41 years old. You give him a chance if he fails to take it bench him. You just dont bench him without playing him.

  • Comment number 74.

    Only three games in and people are moaning. Three good displays so far this season with Norwich been the only bad one. We have a new manager and new players in, it needs time. All this talk of VDV and Modric leaving is irrelevant if you look how we have improved our squad from last season. Signed a world class goal keaper for the future to come in when Brad starts struggling (if that happens this season).

    In defense we brought back Naughton and Caulker from successful loan spells. Caulker looked good last year and in the olympics. Naughton looks good cover for Walker and BAE, even pushing BAE for his place. Also we added Vertonghen who looks a very good composed player. While also extending Walker's contract. Long live the King and all that but his time had come.

    In midfield we lost Modric wanted to go, but we got a good price for him. Brought in Demble and Sigurdson as a replacement for Modric to me looks good business, especially with Modric tiring to the end of last season after playing a lot of games. I also believe that that dembele could be just as good as Modric looked quality against Reading. Also sandro has come a long way didn't think he put a foot wrong yesterday. And we still have parker to come back into a competitive midfield. With Bale and Lennon both looking sharp as is Defoe it is only a compliment to the team that Adebayor can't start (who we have now also signed on a permanent contract, great business who has had a great scoring record the last few seasons). With VDV leaving, he wasn't fit enough but he was a class player. However we replaced him with Dempsey who is a good solid player to bring in of the same age who is also on lower wages. VDV wanted to leave. Bring in one or two players in January and I think we can push on for top four this year. No more than that.

  • Comment number 75.

    Exellent Spurs performance.

    They worked hard (not too hard as only the plodders of Reading).
    I do rate AVB as manager just that at Chelsea he was not in charge as the "boys brigade" ran the show Terry,Lumpard etc..

    Why are some of the Spurs fans moaning of his appointment? He cant do any worse than the Harry"the saviour"Redknapp. What AVB has achieved in his short managerial career is far more than what the beloved "arry's" 30+ years as manager has. "arry" is just a 4-4-2 "when in doubt kick it out" tactics manager with one f.a cup to show for it.

    I hope AVB does well just to shove down the throat of his critics.

  • Comment number 76.

    At 08:22 17th Sep 2012, Pahgy Loves Manchester wrote:

    I think the Lloris situation is bad management. No matter how good a 41 years old is, when you buy a keeper for 12million, captain of france and a top goal keeper you dont bench him for the 41 years old. You give him a chance if he fails to take it bench him. You just dont bench him without playing him.

    ------------

    What!!

    I should report you for age discrimination. Friedel has been a top Keeper for many many years. At 41 he is still on top of his game. Why should he suddenly be dropped? Yeah Spurs have spent 12 mill on new keeper but that doesnt mean he should be garenteed a start when their current number on is on form. He will have to earn his place in the team.

    Talking of GK's has Spurs got rid of that "octopus between the sticks" Gomes?

  • Comment number 77.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 78.

    im an arsenal fan but any spurs fan or even neutral saying andre villas boas isnt good enough or should be sacked already are a disgrace to this sport and what it means to be a true fan. give him a chance jesus. chelsea never did. he was treated poorly by a bgunch of pampered primadonnas at chelsea who were always too reliant on drogba. is only true mistake at chelsea was leaving drogba and lampard out (of course then lampard especially) was a disgrace in throwing his toys out the pram and that clown abramovich gave in despite avb only doing what he actually told him do...

    say harry redknapp is good all you want BUT as well as he did for the spurs he was the man so up his own backside with his own hype that he thought he could constantly play bale and lennion out of position and expect it to magically work for him. which last season (towards end especially) didnt come close to working. he then proceeded to sell spurs out hoping for an england job that never came. villas boas given a proper fair chance will be a success and hell show more loyalty than redknapp did towards the end...

    he hasnt got the players he wanted in to replace modric and vdv really yet even now after only 4 games spurs have more style (with only 1 true bad performance against norwich which everyone has early season, look at us started with 2 0-0 draws but now look solid and better than have for years) than chelsea have. ok chelsea won the cl last year BUT that was all luck and drogba. they were 1 missed messi penalty away from been dumped out. had they not won that di matteo wouldnt be getting lauded as much as he did for winning it. in fact if he hadnt he would have been sacked at chelsea aswell.

    villas boas is a top manager who has his own style. he plays players where theyre best positioned and even now 4 games in theyre only what 3 points off a top 4 which already looks like is the top 4 that it SHOULD BE. doesnt say spurs cant do it. its better to start slow as spurs have with time to make it up than go into meltdown at the end and throw it all away like redknapp blindly let his team do last year... give him time. avb is still a better manager than redknapp and more loyal when backed and allowed to impose his own style. redknapp had a few good years where liverpool were awful (and still are) and we werent as good as we are so far this season. the only things going against avb are the disgraceful jokes calling for him go already and the fact that utd and city aside. us and chelsea look mostly solid. more teams at the top of their game than they were when redknapp succeeded. dont get me wrong hr did a good job but my point is some of the top sides were weak and in transition or in pools case still in meltdown. say what you want about redknapps success last season as soon we we hammered them at the emirates and capello quit england. redknapps heart wasnt in it for such a top manager hes made out be last season was a disgrace however you look at it from his point. GIVE HIM A CHANCE! avb deserves it.

  • Comment number 79.

    Avb was no fool after the first 3 games and is no genius now. Give him some time and then judge the performances and the results. I liked Harry and his style of play, but we seemed to struggle if we could not play his favoured 11.Already there seems to be a more inclusive plan to Avb's style which will hopefully see us more able to deal with injuries or players dipping form.

  • Comment number 80.

    @72 the Friedel situation was perfect management. There was no good reason to pick Lloris other than his status before he came to the club. Friedel had a great game against Norwich, probably our best player so what message does it send out to drop him? In addition, Lloris was away on international duty for the majority of the time since he arrived, and needs a little time to settle in and get to know his defenders.

    What i like about AVB is his simplicity. BAE injured? fine just pop another full back in there. Many managers would have dropped Bale back or switched Walker over, but then you are making 2 changes when only 1 is needed. In addition, the other later signings have also been made to wait for their chance while the guys who had a full pre season are the ones with a shirt.

    Spurs will have a busy campaign this time around, and i think ABV will be more than aware that his best chance to acceptance will be to put a cup in the cabinet, so Adebayor, Dempsey and Lloris will all have important roles to play, and hopefully the Friedel situation will send the message out that if you play well enough, you keep hold of the shirt as opposed to the Redknapp era where we had 2 teams; the first team and the reserves and all the players knew which team they belonged in....

  • Comment number 81.

    #77 Miffed at signing Lloris????? Why, do you think Friedel will make it to 50?

  • Comment number 82.

    18 - Hernandez looks like a shadow of the player he did a couple of years ago and Welbeck isn't that convincing.

    Oh god they'll just have to rely on Rooney and Van Persie...

  • Comment number 83.

    Forget reading McNulty's usual reactionary piece, just read comment #5 and it sums up perfectly the feeling's of the majority of Spurs fans. I know the media love 'Arry, Sky Sports News even had him commenting on Andy Murray's US Open triumph the other day! But just because he's a master of self promotion doesn't make him the messiah that a lot of media outlets were making him out to be last year. One trophy in a career as long as his is hardly deity-like.

    Anyway great win for Spurs yesterday but start of a long season so hardly worthy of a whole blog about it. Even before that it was hardly time to be questioning his position but the media do love to stir don't they. Best thing about yesterday was the movement in midfield. Dembele looks like he's going to be a class player for us and Vertonghen at the back also looked very good. Always wanting the ball and happy to take control of the defence. Hopefully it's the first win in another very good season.

  • Comment number 84.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 85.

    84.
    At 09:14 17th Sep 2012, Superstar_Pablo_Aimar wrote:


    81.At 09:11 17th Sep 2012, vincent wrote:
    #77 Miffed at signing Lloris????? Why, do you think Friedel will make it to 50?
    _______________________

    He now has 4 goalkeepers on his books and his new £12m warming the bench. Are you trying to tell me that makes sense?
    _______________________________

    It doesn't make any sense. Having said that he isn't the most expensive keeper warming the bench at the moment - he plays for Man Utd.

  • Comment number 86.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 87.

    We looked so much better with Dembele, Sigurdsson and Sandro than with Livermore in there instead of an attacking player. Arguably Dembele, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Sandro, Huddlestone and Parker is one of the best midfields in the league. We must play with two attack minded players in midfield rather than only one.

  • Comment number 88.

    @86 Superstar_Pablo_Aimar

    Yes that was an interesting stat. The Man City defence looks shaky at the moment but they will score a lot of goals in the Premier League. I can't see them doing anything in Europe this year.

  • Comment number 89.

    Fans can be fickle but the media are even worse; much worse. People shouldn't assume that what they read or hear in the media is an accurate reflection of the general opinion of the fans of a club.

    Most Spurs fans will not make up their minds on AVB for a good while yet.

  • Comment number 90.

    Its not exactly a startling revelation that winning a match makes everything feels better is it? It is a decent result and with the quality at Tottenham's disposal, they should be challenging the top four again this season. This does not prove that AVB is the right man for the job in the same way the first couple of results didn't prove he was wrong.

    The league this season is strange. No one has pulled up any trees so far yet the top four already has a very familiar look to it. I personally feel that the Manchester clubs look shaky as do Chelsea. This means the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham should believe they have a chance for glory this time out.

    Superstar_Pablo_Aima @86

    I wouldn't read to much into the stats on MOTD2, you can find statistics to fit even the most warped notions. Those stats suggest that De Gea is a superior keeper to Joe Hart but we all know who we would select for our teams given the opportunity!

  • Comment number 91.

    On the subject of Lloris: The guy has spent about 5 minutes training with the team, you don't just throw him into the first team until he has had some practice behind his new back four.

    On AVB: Spurs fans are happy to give the guy every chance to succeed. The perceived man-management flaw seems predicated on the fact that he fell out with John Terry. Oh, the horrors.

    Spurs are 3 points behind Manchester City after 4 games. Its a long season.

  • Comment number 92.

    Phil

    'It is a nonsense that any manager's future should be examined after three games,' But it's a nonsense that you are happy to perpetuate just the same by given any credence to such baseless, wishy washy words as ' backdrop of speculation that his position was already under scrutiny'. If you have something to say, say it. Don't hide behind other people's rubbish.

    If you want to play the media game let's look at the Redknapp quote about the 70 page dossier that could be baffling. Well, given that Redknapp has said himself that he is almost illiterate, he probably couldn't understand it, could he?

  • Comment number 93.

    Ferguson doesnt know that Lindergaard wouldnt survive an onslaught. I'm sure De Gea would be back for the Liverpool game. Joe Hart is the worse goal keeper in the now, still have no save to make and dont get me started on the unstoppable shots, De Gea would have saved both of soton's goals. The long range shots he concided too would be bread and butter fo De Gea. Not saying De Dea is a better keeper but Joe Hart need to step up. He is so confortable being number 1.

  • Comment number 94.

    90.
    At 09:42 17th Sep 2012, Barca500 wrote:

    The league this season is strange. No one has pulled up any trees so far yet the top four already has a very familiar look to it. I personally feel that the Manchester clubs look shaky as do Chelsea. This means the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham should believe they have a chance for glory this time out.
    ______________________________

    I can't see Arsenal or Spurs challenging for the title. When their players are fit and on form Arsenal can beat any team but you know they will have a prolonged period when they struggle to pick up points every season. Spurs to me look like a weaker team this year and i'm not convinced that their manager knows what he is doing.

  • Comment number 95.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 96.

    It will all end in tears, despite the great backing given to AVB. Anyone who employed him after the Chelsea disaster should take a good look at them selves. What he was trying to do at Chelsea was possibly correct, but the manner he went about it, defied logic and created chaos. AVB has an arrogance about him, I have grave doubts he will do half as well as Arry, why try to mend what was not broken.

  • Comment number 97.

    •Comment number 1.
    At 22:22 16th Sep 2012, dogeared wrote:
    the most fickle fans in the league.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Agree 100%.
    Aside a tactical aside can I ask AVB to tell his team to concentrate the whole length of the match? All the oppositions goals have come in the final 5 minutes or thereabouts, and I have Walker in my dreamteam, bah!
    If Spurs hadn't conceded those late goals they would be in the top 3!

  • Comment number 98.

    #95 Superstar_Pablo_Aimar

    I wonder if anyone other than Man U fans would pick De Gea over Hart, if they had the choice?

    Ferguson appears to be unconvinced by De Gea at this time hence him dropping De Gea after the Fulham game. De Gea has been pretty sporadic in his time at Old Trafford and whatever the perception of his weaknesses, you'd imagine that opposition teams will be looking to exploit those which may exaggerate them.

  • Comment number 99.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 100.

    99.At 10:02 17th Sep 2012, Superstar_Pablo_Aimar wrote:

    As a Liverpool fan I would go with Hart - he can be a bit flappy on crosses and at times he will parry the ball back into danger instead of away from goal but all in all he is good keeper and a safer option than De Gea who can in the same game look world class and then like he is playing pub football.

 

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