AVB shares spotlight after victory
Published 30/09/2012 | 14:32
Andre Villas-Boas spoke of rewriting Tottenham's history at Old Trafford on Saturday - but never mentioned the changing of his own.
It is a measure of the man that Villas-Boas chose to heap the praise on his players following their 3-2 win at Manchester United. There was not even a passing aside to the defeat he suffered at Old Trafford 12 months previously, in the early days of a troubled stint at Chelsea.
"Andre is a cool guy who is really easy to talk to," said matchwinner Clint Dempsey. "He wants to win and be successful and his attention to detail, from the management to the physios is just first class. Hopefully we can do some special things."
The recurring themes in Villas-Boas' assessment of Tottenham's first win at Old Trafford since 1989 were "authority and confidence".
His players needed both, first to seize the initiative from United in a spellbinding opening half, then to repel the comeback as Sir Alex Ferguson's side turned the screw in their ultimately doomed quest for an equaliser.
"They felt inspired all week that they could do something at Old Trafford," he said. "It came down to the talent they have and the authority and confidence they feel. The way we played in the first half was unbelievable. It is not common to see on this ground and the way we defended afterwards showed a team that believes in each other."
That one of Tottenham's goalscorers, Gareth Bale, had barely trained all week due to a virus just made what transpired all the more remarkable.
If they hadn't known who the teams were, few who were present would have picked the hosts as more likely Premier League title contenders.
Tottenham's first-half display exposed some woefully weak United defending, for which the defenders alone cannot be blamed. Exploiting spaces in midfield neither Paul Scholes nor Michael Carrick were able to fill, first Jan Vertonghen, then Bale drove deep into United territory and found the finish to match.
"Lackadaisical," was Ferguson's description of that performance, before going on to praise his players' character and condemn the time-keeping of referee Chris Foy.