Andre Villas-Boas is confident of having the midfielder Tom Huddlestone fit for Tottenham’s pursuit of a Champions League place.
“He has been tremendous, his impact against [Manchester] City was outstanding and he controlled our passing against Wigan,” Villas-Boas said. Huddlestone has starred in a 4-3-3 recently but Villas-Boas would trust him in 4-4-2 if the manager reverts to that against Southampton today. “Either way Tom has already played a 4-4-2 when Mousa Dembélé was injured, to great effect.”
Gareth Bale, the PFA Player, Young Player and FWA Footballer of the Year, was raised at the Southampton academy and Villas-Boas paid tribute to it, comparing it to Barcelona.
“Sometimes there are clubs that keep developing and nurturing players,” Villas-Boas said. “In Portugal, Sporting Lisbon is the development club and great players have come out of that school. Southampton falls into the category like Sporting Lisbon, like Barcelona.”
Villas-Boas hopes that Spurs can match their 70-point haul of 2009-10, eight beyond their current total, even if it is not enough for fourth place. “If we get 70 points we equal Harry’s 70-point season which is difficult to get,” he said. “We sit on 62 so hopefully we can do it. It’s a good tally of points but it might mean you finish away from the objective.”
RACE FOR EUROPE
* Remaining games
CHELSEA Tomorrow Man United (a), Wed Tottenham (h), 11 May Aston Villa (a), 19 May Everton (h)
ARSENAL Today QPR (a), 14 May Wigan (h); 19 May Newcastle (a)
TOTTENHAM Today Southampton (h), Wed Chelsea (a), 12 May Stoke (a), 19 May Sunderland (h)
EVERTON Tomorrow Liverpool (a), 12 May W Ham (h), 19 May Chelsea (a)