Andre Villas-Boas has been called a lot of things since he arrived in English football but not, until now, a "warrior". That, however, is the verdict of William Gallas on his manager.
The Tottenham Hotspur defender was referring to Villas-Boas's determination to field competitive teams on all fronts this season, whether it be in tomorrow's Capital One Cup tie at Carrow Road or the Europa League.
"We have to be strong in the heart [because] the manager is a competitor – he is a warrior – he wants to win everything."
Villas-Boas came to prominence by winning the Europa League with Porto and looks to be taking the competition more seriously than most Premier League managers, retaining seven players from the tie at Maribor in midweek at Southampton on Sunday. After the latter win he stressed that it was a "massive" result for the players as it "showed the team the possibilities of embracing the Europa League".
The players will need further convincing, to judge from Gallas. He said: "We will try to win all competitions, but we know it's very difficult because we play so many games and some players are very tired.
"They play for the national team as well so it's not easy, but when you are professional and you play for a big club you have to be ready for this. All the players know what they have to do. If they are tired on the pitch they play with their heads."
Villas-Boas added: "We got home from Maribor at 2am and had just two days to recover, but one of our best performances, against Aston Villa, came after we arrived home at 4am after a Europa League match [in Greece]."
Gallas added that, as a player, he preferred to win real silverware than the metaphorical trophy of Champions League qualification which Arsène Wenger had suggested last week was better than winning a domestic cup.
"A trophy is something you lift at the end of the season and it's a fantastic feeling," Gallas said. "It doesn't happen many times in your career. To finish second or fourth is completely different.
"It is a long time since Tottenham lifted a trophy [actually the 2008 League Cup] and I don't know which one we are going to lift, but we want to lift one – any one will be pretty good." Even the Europa League.Reuse content