December 12 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, September 16, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas insisted Tottenham’s 2-0 Premier League cruise over Norwich City was payback time.
The Portuguese boss revealed the Canaries’ league and cup successes over his side last season formed a key part of his pre-match message.
“We used as a major motivation the fact we had not managed to beat them time three times last season in the league and the Capital One Cup. My boys really stood up and accepted the challenge,” he said. “It was a very good performance from the team. We were outstanding. It is always difficult to play these fixtures straight after the international break and to play at such a high level of quality was great. Physically we dominated and tactically we were also impressive.
“We knew that Norwich would sit back and wait for the counter-attack, they do it so well and did it against Everton to nick a point. We had to be patient and move the ball well and we did it so fast, so quickly that it really made the difference. In the end, in 45 minutes, we managed to make Norwich exhausted physically and they couldn’t really cope with our quality out there.”
Christian Eriksen’s debut display lit up White Hart Lane with the Ajax recruit a pivotal figure in both of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s goals.
“It was a great debut for him,” said Villas-Boas. “For a player of his age he showed a lot of maturity and played very well between the lines. He was fantastic. He is a pure number 10, a creative player who came into this game naturally and bonded very easily. I think his individual quality made the difference. We took him off (in the second half) because he played two international fixtures and we had Lewis (Holtby) who had been with us for 10 days training.
“I think with all the new signings we are looking not just for their quality but to have the mental ability to fight for places in the team and to understand the game. For his age he is impressive. He has played a lot of Champions League games and he has impressive stats but the Premier League is about how consistent you can be to perform at the top level.”
Tottenham’s strength in depth was underlined when Villas-Boas’ replaced two-goal match-winner Sigurdsson with new £25.7m Argentine signing Erik Lamela.
“We are so strong in depth so the players know they have to compete and if they do not perform at the top level there is someone who can replace them,” he said. “We struggled with injuries in March and April last season and that meant we were not able to push for the Champions League.
“It is still very early but this is a good start. We want to win the fixtures coming up ahead of the October internationals. We have a difficult trip to Cardiff and the Chelsea game so it is too early to think about anything else - we just want the most amount of points we can. It is certainly a different start to last season and hopefully we do not suffer a blip.”
Villas-Boas revealed Sigurdsson had been a major injury doubt.
“He was struggling a lot with a dead leg after playing for Iceland but I was so pleased for him. We spoke during the week and told him we needed him,” he said. “He made himself available for the team and when he has these opportunities he always makes the most of them. He showed a great attitude and for me it was a man of the match performance. I wanted to bring Erik into the game and Sigurdsson was exhausted. Erik just arrived to train for the first time on Friday because he got back late from playing for his country so it was difficult for him to be involved in the starting line up.”
FA Youth Cup holders Norwich City produced a devastating late goal burst to sink Preston’s Under-18s 6-1 in Wednesday’s third round tie at Deepdale.