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Villas-Boas aims to lift the gloom at Spurs

August 31, 2012
LONDON: Andre Villas-Boas accepts Tottenham have made a disappointing start to the Premier League campaign and the news that centre back Younes Kaboul is out for four months has hardly lifted the mood at White Hart Lane.

Villas-Boas admits a solitary point from the opening two games against Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion is an unsatisfactory return as the new Tottenham manager attempts to emulate the fourth-placed finish achieved by his predecessor Harry Redknapp last year.

Anything less than victory over Norwich City at White Hart Lane on Saturday will mean the gap between Spurs and the top four will grow uncomfortably wide even at this early stage of the season.

But Kaboul’s absence after undergoing knee surgery is an early blow to Villas-Boas’s hopes of establishing defensive stability in his starting line-up.

“He had an operation on his patella tendon. He continuously damaged it during the last three months and we decided that conservative treatment wouldn’t take him any further,” Villas-Boas said.

“It’s a massive, massive blow for us. We are looking at three to four months out.”

Kaboul’s absence, however, does not mean Michael Dawson is back in the manager’s first team plans a week after the England centre back was told he was surplus to requirements.

“We have known about this possibility (of Kaboul’s surgery) for quite some time, and this was even mentioned in the discussions I had with Michael,” Villas-Boas added.

The Portuguese coach insists there have still been enough signs of encouragement despite the lack of victories and he believes it will only take an improvement in concentration to resolve his side’s flaws.

“Of course you always want to start better and one point out of a possible six is something that disappoints us because we have given two good performances,” Villas-Boas said.

“There are positives to take on board but the results aren’t there and we have to push to make that happen.

“Going back on both games I thought we were extremely good at Newcastle and in the first half against West Brom.

“Looking over the two games you could say we need to improve our concentration levels and that’s what we will take from them.”

Moussa Dembele, the Belgium international signed from Fulham this week as a replacement for Luka Modric after the Croatian’s move to Real Madrid, is in line to make his debut, but fellow midfielder Scott Parker is still two weeks away from a return.

Like Villas-Boas, Norwich manager Chris Hughton is attempting to fill the gap left by a successful predecessor, in his case Paul Lambert who left for Aston Villa in the close-season.

And like the Portuguese, Hughton is still looking for his first league win after the an opening day 5-0 loss at Fulham and last weekend’s home draw against QPR.

The odds are against Hughton as he returns to Spurs, who he served for 18 years as player and coach, but the former Newcastle boss insists his side will travel with confidence.

“You have to give yourself the best possible chance, and the only way you can give yourself that is to have no fear, go in with a game plan, be brave in everything that you do, and see where it takes you,” Hughton said.

“I think Spurs will have a good season. With what they have brought in, there is no doubt that they have a competitive squad.

“They’ve got great quality, but if you can’t enjoy this type of challenge, then you shouldn’t be in this game.

“Fortunately I have a group of players that do enjoy the challenge. We’ve put a bad result behind us and now we look forward.”

-AFP


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