Andre Villas-Boas insisted yesterday that his club have more reason to relish tomorrow's game with Chelsea than he does. The Tottenham Hotspur manager, who was dismissed by Chelsea in March, pointed to the rivalry between the clubs last season as being more relevant than his own story.
"There is one thing which has been to a certain extent blown out of proportion – this is certainly not a personal matter," Villas-Boas said yesterday. "I feel this is much more [about] Tottenham to its extent, in that it is the team who took this club out of the Champions League; this is the team who prevented this team from playing in the FA Cup final last year.
"I prefer to involve it much more on the club, taking it to an individual situation is not fair on me. First because it means absolutely nothing on end of season and in which position you might finish at the end of the season, and because it is not a quest of an individual, it is a quest of a team, where we want to finish at end of the season."
Chelsea have certainly improved since Villas-Boas was replaced by Roberto Di Matteo, winning the FA Cup and Champions League in May. But when asked whether winning the European Cup was more impressive than going unbeaten through a league season – as Villas-Boas did with Porto in 2010-11 – the Portuguese manager chose his own achievement.
"Winning any league is extremely difficult but going through it unbeaten is also extremely difficult. It will be something extremely difficult to go past. Which is more difficult? Remaining unbeaten in the league."
Villas-Boas suggested that, having picked Hugo Lloris in goal for Spurs' last two games, he may return to Brad Friedel for tomorrow's game. "We still see Brad as No 1," he said. "We had the opportunity to give Hugo a consecutive run of four games – including the two national team games like it happened. We are extremely happy we did."
Tottenham may be without their England international Scott Parker until Christmas, though. "It's difficult for him as he still feels pain and is still disturbed in his recovery," Villas-Boas said of the 32-year-old midfielder's slow recovery from an Achilles injury. "We could be looking at Christmas. Hopefully less."