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New Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas to build on Harry Redknapp's work and take on Premier League title
New Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas believes his players have the ability to challenge for the Premier League title and the former Chelsea manager says he is building a squad with that ambition in mind.
The 34-year-old's statement of intent signals the start of a new direction at Spurs, a club that barely whispered the possibility of becoming genuine title contenders until earlier this year.
Little more than seven months ago, Tottenham were mixing it with the Manchester clubs at the top of the table before a four-month capitulation that saw them relinquish an 11-point gap to north London rivals Arsenal.
The downturn saw them narrowly finish fourth and miss out on Champions League qualification to eventual winners Chelsea - a disappointing finish that was capped by the sacking of Harry Redknapp last month.
The introduction of Villas-Boas though comes at a time when the club is finalising plans for a new stadium and is about to move into a new training centre. His appointment could therefore signal the start of a new era in N17.
Speaking at Spurs’ new 73-acre training ground in Enfield, the former Blues manager spoke about his disastrous spell at Stamford Bridge and why he was most attracted to Tottenham amidst a range of other offers.
The 34-year-old said: “After I left Chelsea I had discussions with various different clubs. I think I became very precise and meticulous on the next step. I was never in doubt that I would take things easy to choose the right club.
“It was an obvious temptation to come here. It is a club of great tradition and dimension and we shared a lot of ideas, which is what made me accept the offer.
“For me it is obviously a privilege and an honour to be given this position. Hopefully I can build on what Harry left me with even more ambition and with even more titles because since 2008 we haven’t had a trophy. It is the taking of Tottenham towards the future that we want and I think it goes along with the running of events that you see around the club regarding this new training ground and the new stadium.”
Villas-Boas came to the Premier League last season as the fresh-faced former Porto boss with a big reputation.
He comes to Spurs with big boots to fill in the form of his predecessor Harry Redknapp, who took the club to its highest succession of league finishes in decades.
Demands on the new manager will be high, but so are AVB’s own ambitions and he firmly believes the club has the strength to compete on a number of fronts, particularly the league title.
He said: “Last year was the first time that Tottenham made it public that they wanted to go for the title and Harry was in and out of quoting that. It is all very well for you to promote yourself for the title and then to quit the week after but if it is something we want to really go for, it is something we have to assume from the start.
“It is a proposition that I put to the players on the first day that we met. A proposition of course that we have to see if it is realistic or not. We would like to assume this responsibility, not to put more pressure on ourselves but because I think it goes along with what we’re trying to build in this club.
“Although the chairman didn’t ask for this on our objectives, it is something I would like to propose this to this club. We’re trying to put together a squad that makes us compete for the title.”
The disappointment of missing out on the Champions League this season is increased in some fans’ eyes by automatic entry into the poisoned chalice of the Europa League.
But AVB says he is determined that the club takes seriously the competition he won in 2011 during his treble-winning season at Porto.
“During the season we would like to compete in the four competitions differently, particularly the Uefa Cup, which is the first competition I won and also a competition that has so much history in this club.
“There is a culture in this football club of good football and this is something we want to continue. We have to inherit what Harry left us and make it stronger.
“What we want is that winning mentality. We want to build it by assuming that we have to compete in a different way by trying to win trophies. From the initial reception from the players I think it is possible and hopefully we can do it in the near future.”