Chris Hughton served Tottenham as a player and coach for more than a quarter
of a century. Now in charge of
“I’m sure he will be very successful. He’s a very good manager but when you are at a club like Tottenham, expectations are always high,” said Hughton, who worked under eight different managers at White Hart Lane.
Hughton can fully sympathise with Villas-Boas. One is imbued in English football culture, the other’s only previous Premier League experience was a brief and unhappy spell at Chelsea, but both have much in common.
After all, while Villas-Boas has followed in the footsteps of Harry Redknapp,
who took Spurs from the relegation zone to the
“I took over from a very successful manager after three very good years but you have to try to instill something different. Either a different voice or playing style,” Hughton said. “ I’ve tried to improve the squad without taking away all the good things of the last few seasons.”
At least Mousa Dembele quickly showed his attributes following a £15 million
“He used to be a forward and can play on the wings and now he plays in that second striker position or in midfield where he is extremely good because he takes things forward with his technical ability,” Villas-Boas said.
The true Tottenham hero, however, was veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who discovered his position under threat when Tottenham splashed £8 million on France international Hugo Lloris on Friday.
The American responded with a string of saves to deny Norwich a comfortable victory, prompting a rapid vote of confidence from Villas-Boas, who said: “When you have a keeper who gives so much confidence to the team and is doing so well, he deserves to be in goal. He’ll continue to do so.
“Brad knows the situation. We want to build for the future and Hugo can be our keeper in the future.”
Even when they finally hit the front, Tottenham did not look comfortable, and with Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson relentless in midfield and wide men Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington pinning the home side back on the flanks, adventurous Norwich fully deserved their late equaliser.
Frustrated seven days earlier when West Bromwich also grabbed a late point, Tottenham supporters endured a repeat when Snodgrass, Norwich’s £3 million buy from Leeds, took advantage of defensive hesitation to finally beat Friedel.
Tottenham’s afternoon was disintegrating. Substitute Tom Huddlestone was harshly sent off after little more than an inadvertent collision with Howson and Johnson came close to grabbing a Norwich winner.
“The fans showed their disappointment but nobody more than us wants to win,” acknowledged Villas-Boas, still awaiting his first Tottenham victory. “We haven’t yet got the win we’ve deserved to get. We just have to improve our performances.”