Andre Villas-Boas 'has a challenge' at Tottenham says Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson

 

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Andre Villas-Boas has a big challenge on his hands at Tottenham.

After his ill-fated spell at Chelsea last season, Villas-Boas has now been given a job at another of England's top clubs, with the same question marks hanging over him that existed at Stamford Bridge.

As Villas-Boas must deal with the expectation created by Harry Redknapp's successful stint at White Hart Lane, it did not take long for the first criticisms to surface.

There were more grumbles following last week's win over QPR that catapulted Tottenham into the top half of the table, and now they head to Manchester United tomorrow looking for their first win at Old Trafford since 1989.

"He has a challenge," said Ferguson.

"He wasn't at Chelsea very long, but he came to our ground early last season and his team tried to play football.

"That's his philosophy and I think he's carrying that out at Tottenham as well.

"He suits Spurs. They've always had a history of playing good football. I think he'll carry on that way.

"I hope they do well because it's a difficult industry these days, particularly for a young manager.

"It must be very daunting and challenging to go to a big club. It's full of risk because it's a results industry."

Going to Old Trafford has been a daunting experience for Tottenham ever since Gary Lineker scored the only goal 23 years ago.

In the intervening period, the best they have managed are four draws, including the infamous Pedro Mendes 'goal that never was' in January 2005.

"Our record against Spurs is very good," said Ferguson.

"Sometimes you have these situations where you get a team that you always get good results against.

"It was the same when I was at Aberdeen.

"It didn't matter what team I played against Dundee at Dens Park I would win. At one point I played them before a midweek European game and I played seven reserves and won 5-1."

After recovering from the opening weekend defeat at Everton by reeling off four successive wins, United will hope their record against Tottenham holds this weekend as they look to put more pressure on early-season pace-setters Chelsea.

Not that everything is running entirely smoothly for Ferguson.

The loss of Nemanja Vidic for two months following knee surgery early this week means United have only Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans as fit senior centre-halves.

Scott Wootton did impress on his debut against Newcastle on Wednesday though. And it appears the Birkenhead-born 21-year-old has an important role to play over the next few days.

"Scott reads the game and passes the ball well," said Ferguson.

"He was up against very experienced players on Wednesday, so his performance was a little bonus for us."

Wootton will be in Ferguson's squad tomorrow, and will remain there until Chris Smalling has recovered from a broken metatarsal, which United hope will be after the next international break.

As he does have options, the potential loss of Antonio Valencia to an ankle injury is not too much of a worry for Ferguson.

And the United boss can definitely allow Darren Fletcher to ease his way back as he continues his rehabilitation from a chronic bowel complaint.

The Scotland skipper started his first game in 10 months in midweek.

Ferguson has selected Fletcher in tomorrow's squad. However, Fletcher's next meaningful involvement is likely to come in Tuesday's Champions League encounter with CFR Cluj in Romania.

"Having played on Wednesday night and contributed so well I wouldn't think he'll start tomorrow," said Ferguson.

"But he may get a place on the bench and he could possibly go to Romania and play against Cluj.

"That may be an ideal opportunity for him." And when he is able to call on his fellow countryman on a regular basis, Ferguson knows he will have a very useful addition to his squad.

"The great thing about Fletcher the other night was that his enthusiasm was fantastic," said Ferguson.

"He played a great part in the victory and in a role different from how we've used him in the past.

"Darren was always the type to get about the midfield players but on Wednesday he sat in front of the two young centre-backs and did a really good job."

PA

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Brendan Rodgers is confident that Sterling will put pen to paper on a new deal at Anfield
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...