AVB calls for Spurs to refocus with Bale saga over
Manager Andre Villas-Boas has called on Tottenham to now put the Gareth Bale saga behind them and get back to winning ways - starting with the visit of Norwich on Saturday.
Spurs' build-up to the new campaign was overshadowed by the frenzied speculation over the future of Wales forward Bale, who eventually completed a world-record £85.3million move to Real Madrid on the eve of the transfer deadline.
Villas-Boas had already moved to strengthen Spurs' options during the summer. However, the arrivals of men such as Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli, Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches, Roma forward Erik Lamela and Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen as well as £26million striker Roberto Soldado could not stop his new-look side from slumping to defeat in the north-London derby at Arsenal before the international break.
But with everyone now set to refocus on the matters at hand, Villas-Boas believes there are plenty of reasons to be positive following two wins from the first three Barclays Premier League matches and qualification for the group stages of the Europa League.
"It is the end of the market, and it was a transfer which took so much time to resolve, but it gives us the possibility to focus on what is our work from now on," Villas-Boas told talkSPORT at BGC's Charity Trading Day, where the Spurs head coach was supporting Ace Africa.
"We just have to continue winning (now).
"After the defeat at Arsenal, we want to be back alongside the top teams. Most of them have lost points though, apart from Liverpool, but we want to be in the mix, so it (Norwich) is a game we have to win.
"There is a long way to go and the objective is to get the most amount of points possible.
"Losing to Arsenal is always difficult for us, so we want to bounce back as soon as possible."
Villas-Boas added: "The calendar dictated that (the timing of Arsenal match), and for us it (the schedule) was fine either way.
"Now it (the defeat) has already gone by and it does not change the importance of the Norwich game either way - we have to win just the same, so that is where our focus will be."
Spurs had plenty of players away on international duty this week, with Argentina's Lamela and Brazilian Paulinho not expected back until later Thursday following their long-haul flights back from South America.
Villas-Boas, though, hopes the gruelling schedule will not have had too much of an impact on the jet-setting squad.
He added: "We will just have to wait and see how they arrive, but most of them should arrive okay because we have not had any reports of injury."
Defender Jan Vertonghen was part of the Belgian squad - also including Spurs' team-mates Chadli and Mousa Dembele - which moved a step closer to qualification for Brazil 2014 with a 2-0 win over Scotland at Hampden Park.
Vertonghen believes having so many players involved at top domestic teams has helped boost Belgium's competitiveness on the international stage as Marc Wilmots' men aim to reach a first World Cup since 2002.
He said on the club's official website, www.tottenhamhotspur.com: "We have a strong mentality now. The pressure is there because we have big players at big clubs, lot of pressure from the press and from ourselves as well, because we have never been to a tournament. I think we can deal with it as well."