May 18 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Friday, January 18, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas believes that Tottenham are meeting Manchester United at the worst possible time as he prepares to host the league leaders on Sunday.
Tottenham earned a rare victory at Old Trafford earlier in the season, triumphing 3-2 at the Theatre of Dreams.
But Villas-Boas feels United have “grown up” since that meeting, and he is anticipating a very different contest this weekend.
“A lot of time has gone by [since that game],” he said. “If you remember, I think it was the fifth or sixth game of the season and United had already lost to Everton and lost to us at home. From then on they’ve gone on a formidable run.
“They sit now with one more point than the league leaders last year, Man City, who were impressive. Their run of form is amazing and it’s going to be a completely different game.
“I think Man United have grown up a lot - they’re more confident. They have the return of Kagawa, who can be an influential player for them for the rest of the season.
“Rooney is also coming back and the central defenders are coming back so it’s a very difficult game for us.
“I think we meet them maybe at the worst time, with them full of confidence and wanting to continue with this run that they’ve had.
“I think this game will be a good reference regarding what we want to achieve towards the future, if we want to challenge for trophies in a better way.
“You have to beat these teams like Man United, but you have to be very organised and I’m not sure if an all-out attack posture is the one that will lead you to success against such a strong team.”
Robin van Persie is likely to receive a hot reception at White Hart Lane following his time with Arsenal, and Villas-Boas says that will either distract him or fire him up.
“Players react differently to those kind of situations - If he finds himself in a hostile situation he can either under-perform or over-perform,” said the head coach.
“He’s been a a tremendous success for them – it’s another transfer with immediate impact, immediate results and an immediate return.
“He’s a player who impressed last year, when his form was incredible. To make a move to an even bigger club and then arrive the way he has arrived, to triumph over everything, is absolutely outstanding.”
Villas-Boas believes a top-three finish is possible for Spurs as they prepare to face Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
“We looked positively at the draw between Chelsea and Southampton,” he said. “Two points from third place is nothing in the Premier League.
“Both teams face very hard games this weekend, with Chelsea against Arsenal and us against Man United. Everton are knocking on the door and they go to Southampton.
“It can shift very quickly. Obviously we want to continue to make good progress and it’s good to see that third place isn’t going away.
“I told you last week that our idea was to bring Man City into the frame, into the fight. We couldn’t get all of the three points against QPR, and Man City got them against Arsenal, so we have to concentrate on what’s around us and what’s more realistic now is that difference towards Chelsea.”
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