Andre Villas-Boas refuses to play Scrooge as Tottenham's festive spirit grows

Manager approves 'two or three' Christmas parties for players after climb into the top four

Andre Villas-Boas is happy for his players to let their hair down over the festive period and insists the club’s Christmas party will not derail Tottenham’s push for Champions League qualification.

Queens Park Rangers cancelled any festive celebrations because they think it will give the wrong impression to fans following 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 secretly arranged a 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 allegedly assaulting a photographer outside a nightclub. He and his club deny the allegations and no arrest was made.

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 the Europa League fixture against Panathinaikos.

Villas-Boas said: “It is normal because it is part of our group spirit - we will try to get two or three in! 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. I am not sure if those kind of situations affect performances. You never know but I don’t think that is related to the Christmas party.”

Villas-Boas’ rigid man-management style was criticised during his ill-fated spell at Chelsea but he already appears to have won over the dressing room at White Hart Lane.

England defender Kyle Walker admits it did take time to adapt to the 35-year-old after he replaced Redknapp in the summer but said: “All the lads are getting used to him now.

“It was weird for me at first. I worked with Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa and he is only the second foreign manager I have had. I am used to Kevin Blackwell, Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp.

“All of a sudden, foreign managers have a different way of playing football. But you have to adapt to it because you want to do well for the manager and for 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 against Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

The last 32 is the stage when teams eliminated from the Champions League enter the draw and Villas-Boas, who won the competition with Porto in 2011, said: “We firmly believe it is more than possible to embrace this competition and take it as seriously as we have taken it.

“Most of our good performances this season were after Europa League games, which is very pleasant to see. We firmly believe that this competition can be approached in a different way.

“Hopefully we can go through, that’s our main focus. It would mean a lot to the way we have embraced the competition. We have taken it very seriously and we have done excellently. We are very proud in how we approach the competition and we want to go through.”

Villas-Boas also confirmed that Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto could both return from injury for next weekend’s Premier League game against Swansea.

Parker has not featured this season after undergoing an Achilles operation in the summer while Assou-Ekotto has been missing since September with a knee problem.

Probable Tottenham team: Friedel; Walker, Vertonghen, Caulker, Naughton; Livermore, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Lennon; Demspey, Defoe

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tv
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Battle of the Five Armies trailer released
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Extras
indybest
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Life and Style
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on