Spurs boss admits his fears over Manchester United strikeforce
Andre Villas-Boas believes that Manchester United’s capture of Robin van Persie has sent a powerful message to the rest of the Premier League.
Tottenham travel to Old Trafford on Saturday to face Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, who lost their league title to their local arch-rivals Manchester City last season.
United responded by splashing out �24million to sign Van Persie from Arsenal during the summer, and Villas-Boas says Ferguson is spoilt for choice up front.
“When you can afford one of the best strikers in the Premier League, to strengthen a squad that’s already so good, it really sends a signal to everyone,” said Spurs’ head coach.
We are speaking about a United team that has Van Persie, Chicharito [Javier Hernandez], Welbeck and Rooney - players of great talent. They make it difficult for any team when they play two strikers up front - I think it shows an intent from them to maybe go with two strikers in the future.
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“At this moment through decisions and also through Kagawa’s performance, Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to go with one striker, and putting Welbeck in the channels. It’s a massive attacking front. It really puts you in difficult situations when these players are performing.”
Tottenham have failed to win at Old Trafford since 1989, when Gareth Bale was just five months old – but Villas-Boas is hoping to end that run at the first attempt.
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“In the end the statistics are there and we hope to break them one day, and hopefully it will be on Saturday,” he said.
“Going to Old Trafford is obviously a difficult trip. What you want to do is to get something that would make us feel very proud by getting a win that would shorten our distance to the top, and in an ideal situation profiting in some way from the clash between Arsenal and Chelsea.
“We are confident but we understand that the level of the opponent is extremely high. But we don’t run away from our responsibilities and we will play the game in an open way to try to get the result that we want.”
Villas-Boas employed an attacking approach at Old Trafford last season when his Chelsea team were beaten 3-1 - his first defeat as the Blues boss.
However, the result was harsh on Chelsea and could have been very different if Fernando Torres had not missed a memorable open goal - and the Spurs supremo is intending to attack United again on Saturday.
“That is the way I like my teams to play,” he said. “We obviously know that it is extremely difficult over there, but that doesn’t mean that you might not be given a chance when you play that way.
“In the end it’s about scoring your opportuinities. Had we scored then maybe the result would have been different, but in the end United were also very good on the day and we managed to come out with a poor result but an excellent performance.”
Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has confirmed that he is keen to work with a director of football, as Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy weighs up the possible candidates.
“I worked with one [a director of football] in Porto and Academica,” said Villas-Boas. “It’s a position I respect in football, it’s not a common position in England but it’s the kind of position that I promote in an organisation.
“It’s a decision that belongs to the club. We have to take that into account so in recent meetings I have been having with the chairman it’s one thing that I will leave up to him. The club must also look in to the future, It’s much more a club decision.”
Villas-Boas added that Gareth Bale will be fit for the trip to Manchester, while William Gallas and Sandro are also likely to be available after missing last night’s Capital One Cup tie at Carlisle.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs