AVB refuses to play Scrooge as Tottenham's festive spirit grows

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The Independent Online

Andre Villas-Boas insists that the club's Christmas party will not derail Tottenham's push for Champions League qualification.

Queen's Park Rangers this week cancelled festive celebrations because they think it will give the wrong impression to fans after their disappointing start to the season.

It is understood that decision was made by the players without the involvement of new manager Harry Redknapp, who banned Spurs from having a traditional end-of-year party last season after the squad's secret trip to Ireland in 2009.

West Ham were the first Premier League club to hold a bash this year and their trip to Dublin ended with injured striker Andy Carroll accused of assaulting a photographer outside a nightclub. The club deny any wrongdoing on the part of Carroll.

But Villas-Boas is confident a Christmas party will not be a distraction at a time when Spurs face a run of six games in 23 days, starting with tonight's Europa League fixture at home to Panathinaikos.

Villas-Boas said: "It is normal because it is part of our group spirit. We will try to gather the group, have dinner together and go on from there. I don't think results are related to the Christmas party.

Villas-Boas' rigid management style was criticised during his spell at Chelsea but he appears to have won over the Spurs dressing room, though defender Kyle Walker admits it took time to adapt to the 35-year-old after he replaced Redknapp: "Foreign managers have a different way of playing. But you have to adapt because you want to do well for the manager and the club.

"He is not one to start raising his voice and chucking things but you can tell when he is angry. You know he is disappointed because he knows you can do better."

Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League following Saturday's 3-0 win at Fulham and need a draw tonight to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Villas-Boas confirmed that Scott Parker and Benoît Assou-Ekotto could return from injury for the League game against Swansea on 16 December.