Villas Boas finally silences doubters

At the start of the season there were plenty of doubts. He had after all just replaced Harry Redknapp, a man who came in with the team bottom of the Premier League and took them into the Champions League. He had guided them past AC Milan and to the quarter finals, to the Bernabeu in Madrid to take on Real. This was a man who had left quite an impression at White Hart Lane.

Yet Daniel Levy was brave in doing away with Redknapp and bringing in the underrated Portuguese. Redknapp has never been one for the long term, it would seem. He never stays at a club too long, and his success is often based on signings and quick fixes than long term solutions.

Villas Boas is different. He is a world apart, methodical, thoughtful, analytical. Attention to detail is the name of the game with the Portuguese. He endured a miserable time at Chelsea because he took on the egos in their dressing room and lost. Yet that did not make him a bad manager. It made him like every other Chelsea manager.

The challenge therefore was huge to begin with, and many Spurs fans were unconvinced. That was made worse after a series of poor results, at home to West Brom and to Norwich, at the start of the season. His constant tinkering came under attack, but it seemed as though Villas Boas could not win. He refused to just let Hugo Lloris take Brad Friedel’s place, likewise Emmanuel Adebayor with Jermain Defoe.

What Villas Boas has done is to get the best out of the brilliant Defoe, one of the most underrated English players of his generation. And he has constructed an excellent midfield around Sandro, around Moussa Dembele. The two provide power, technique and energy. Thrust. That is the name of the game for Villas Boas. Energetic, high pressing midfields which are proficient at pass and move. He did not have the tools for the job at Chelsea. He does at White Hart Lane.

It is also a more humble Vilas Boas from the outside at least. He looks like a man who has spent time considering what went wrong at Stamford Bridge and trying to change across London. Slowly but surely he is having an effect, and his efforts so far are being well rewarded. A first win at Old Trafford in 20 years for Tottenham was the major highlight of the season so far, although a 5-2 loss at the Emirates a big blow. But Villas Boas is showing promise, and signs that he could turn Tottenham into a regular Champions League team.

He still has some way to go, with most of the season remaining and Tottenham still have painful memories of being overhauled by Arsenal last year in the race for the Champions League. Yet this is a solid, well organised and attractive team, which is getting slowly but surely, stronger. Daniel Levy is being vindicated. Villas Boas is being vindicated.