Who is under more pressure tomorrow: Villas-Boas or Moyes?

White Hart Lane

As Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United prepare to face each other, which manager is under more pressure to secure the three points?

Losing 6-0 is never a good thing. But the football manager’s ethos is to look ahead. After all, there is always another game.

But what about when your next game is against Manchester United; is that the perfect way to recover, or an invite for another pasting?

Given United’s form since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone claiming it is the latter.

In truth, it could realistically be argued that David Moyes is under more pressure than Andre Villas-Boas – a man who is reportedly (and ridiculously) said to be fighting for his job.

Speaking after Spurs’ loss last Sunday, Villas-Boas said, “We have to be ashamed of ourselves, and react to a defeat like this.”

And if they cannot react at home to the champions, when can they?

Tottenham may be in the midst of a dry spell (both in terms of points and goals) but to sack a man who has only recently finished constructing a new side – with further tweaks likely to be made in January – is frankly absurd.

Lose against United and there will be discontent, but their fixtures directly after are eminently winnable. And there is no reason why Spurs cannot go on a run that sees them climb back up a table they scaled just a few weeks ago.

United, on the other hand, looked lightweight and beatable practically every time they played. Until they faced Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League and looked like, well, champions.

Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones may not be many people’s choice for the perfect midfield partnership, but against the Germans they were outstanding – the Welshman in particular. And Moyes can only hope the evergreen Giggs somehow continues to roll back the years, at least until a quality midfield replacement can be found.

Having seen his side drop two more points away to Cardiff City last weekend, Moyes will know he needs to win on Sunday, while Tottenham would surely accept a draw.

A humbling akin to that received at the hands of City would put considerable pressure on Villas-Boas. But anything more than that and the Portuguese will surely have time to ensure his new players gel with his old ones.

Moyes, however, (despite his European success) is fast racking up a series of league results that will ensure little more than a battle for the top four.

If he loses again against Spurs, the ultimate prize in club football may suddenly be his most realistic aim…and arguably the easiest way to compete for it again next season.

image: © Shiraz Chakera

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