Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas walks a tightrope this term after spending over £100 million in the summer.
Get these right or AVB could be toast...
1) Top Four
They’ve been unlucky – they finished 4th in 2011/12 but Chelsea went and stole their place by winning the Champions League and finishing 6th and they took it all the way to the last day of the season last term neck and neck with archrivals Arsenal. This time, there are no excuses – they must finish in the top four.
2) Strong run in the Europa League
Meanwhile, finishing 5th wasn’t the worse thing in the world – playing on Thursdays in the Europa League, however, can be draining to the squad and impact on their first-team’s performances at the weekend but they have the depth and quality to be able to cope with the demands of both the Premier League and Europa League much better this season.
Meanwhile, if they’re in the Europa League, they’ve got to be in it to win it. That’ll send a message out to the rest of the continent that they mean business and their ready to face the best in Europe and it’ll prepare them for the Champions League next season.
3) Either beat Arsenal or finish above them
It was unfortunate timing that Spurs had to play Arsenal right in the middle of the biggest transfer saga of all time. The Gunners won 1-0 in the end but it wasn’t really an even contest considering the transfer window was still open and Tottenham weren’t really ready as squad or team yet. They must beat the Gunners on the return fixture this season, however – the fans need that and it’ll foster belief in the players. Either that or finish above them. Villas-Boas needs to show progression from last season.
4) Get the new signings settled
Meanwhile, the team still hasn’t completely gelled – Villas-Boas still has work aplenty to do on the training ground to get the players used to each other and his system. He needs to build that unity and team spirit that title-winning teams always have. The new signings plus the return of players like Andros Townsend as well as the intermittent international breaks means there is going to have to be even more of a concerted effort on his part and they part of the players to find chemistry and cohesion.
On that note, and finally, with all the new additions and the huge increase in depth and quality in the squad, he is going to have a tougher task to keep everyone happy. Players like Aaron Lennon, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Moussa Dembele and Jermaine Defoe are not necessarily going to be playing week in week out with the arrivals of players like Christian Eriksen (even though he’s injured for the moment) January signing Lewis Holtby, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, Erik Lamela and the returned Sandro.
He’s going to have to shuffle his pack constantly to keep the competition level high and the focus where it should be – on the prize. Otherwise he could face another mutiny in the dressing room like he experienced at Stamford Bridge and that would be bad news for everyone.
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