Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas dismisses data analysis in football as 'useless'


Sam Allardyce may have based his whole management style on Prozone, but Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed empirical analysis in football as “useless”.

Spurs travel to West Ham tonight looking to re-establish their four-point lead over Arsenal ahead of Sunday's crunch north London derby.

The two managers in the opposing dugouts at Upton Park are polar opposites. Villas-Boas is a suave, continental young coach while Allardyce is often portrayed as a gruff, traditional English manager.

But to brand Allardyce as some kind of Luddite would be wrong. The former Blackburn boss was the first manager to pioneer the use of Prozone - the technical analysis of almost every part of a player's game. Now almost every top-flight team use the system, while other sports have also embraced it.

It has always been thought that due to his love of detailed dossiers on opposing teams, Villas-Boas was also a Prozone nut, but it turns out that is not the case.

"I have never used Prozone. I don't use it because I don't believe (in it)," the Tottenham manager said.

"You always have to be very, very careful with statistics. It doesn't mean that we negate them completely; we just don't use them to the extent that people might think.

"We have a scientific department that deals with that but, we don't prepare our training or players based on the physical data we get from matches. The mind and how the player feels is much more important for us, rather than statistical data.

"For me it's useless, but it varies from coach to coach. We all have different approaches."

The two managers also differ in the goals they are striving to achieve this season.

West Ham are fighting against potential relegation while Spurs' priority is to qualify for the Champions League.

Villas-Boas also wants to go all the way this year in the Europa League. Tottenham grabbed a last-gasp draw in Lyon on Thursday to set up a last-16 meeting with Inter Milan, but Villas-Boas insists his players' focus will not be distracted by the glamour tie that lies ahead next month.

"It won't really be difficult," Villas-Boas said when asked about how his team will cope fighting on two fronts.