Kaboul gives AVB's Spurs a lift
Published 02/11/2013 | 13:51
Andre Villas-Boas thinks Younes Kaboul's injury troubles are now well and truly behind him.
Kaboul looks set to start successive games for the first time under Villas-Boas on Sunday when Tottenham travel to Everton in the Barclays Premier League.
The France defender has been hit by a series of injuries over the last 18 months.
Kaboul suffered a serious knee injury on the opening day of last season at Newcastle and after eight months out, he tore a thigh muscle in an under-21 game against Manchester United.
This term Kaboul's progress has been hindered by a niggling thigh injury, but after watching the 27-year-old come through 120 minutes' worth of action against Hull on Wednesday night, Villas-Boas believes the centre-back is now over the worst of his problems.
"Kaboul was extraordinary on Wednesday," the Tottenham manager said.
"We planned to take him off in the 60th minute. He was giving me signs he had to come off in the 63rd minute but that was when (Nacer) Chadli was injured, and he gave the thumbs up to continue.
"It was good that he played 120 minutes. I think we've finally buried his recurrent injuries.
"That's a great credit to the player and our medical department. There is a possibility he will make the team selection to start at Everton.
"It's a big decision I have to make bearing in the mind the amount of effort he put in. But he is a great player for us."
Danny Rose's injury means Kaboul should slot straight in alongside Michael Dawson at centre-back, with Jan Vertonghen moving to left-back.
The north Londoners have enjoyed their best defensive start to a Premier League season in eight years, conceding just five goals in their opening nine games.
That defence will be put to the test on Sunday, though, as Romelu Lukaku will be out to get one over on his old manager.
Lukaku has been the spearhead for Everton's excellent start to the campaign under Roberto Martinez, and Villas-Boas believes the Merseyside club will be in contention for a Champions League spot come the end of the season.
"I think they will be competing for top four," the Portuguese said.
"David Moyes left that aura and motivation to compete for these places.
"In the past we have seen them compete for a Champions League spot up to two or three fixtures away from the end of the season. They have the ability (to do it).
"To change the coach makes it always very difficult but they still have quite a lot of points so far."
Villas-Boas, of course, is more concerned about his own team's chances of making the top four after missing out by the narrowest of margins last season.
The Tottenham manager has had a testing week. On Sunday he took the unusual step of criticising his own fans as Tottenham laboured to a 1-0 win over Hull.
Initial reaction among the Tottenham faithful was mixed, but it was clear the move had paid off by Wednesday, when Spurs beat Hull on penalties amid a booming atmosphere at White Hart Lane.
Villas-Boas expects a hostile atmosphere at Everton Park this weekend but Spurs have dropped just three points on the road so far this season and the Portuguese is confident of achieving a crucial victory at Goodison Park.
"They're always very emotionally driven games (at Everton)," Villas-Boas said. "(The away form) is not about me, it's to do with the players.
"They step up their game, they want to do well for the club. Away games are always important in the Premier League.
"If you get wins away from home it can be extremely important for the run-in into the top four spots.
"Our objective is to go there and achieve the three points."