Andre Villas-Boas praises Tottenham team ethic

21 February 2013 09:17

Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed the idea that Tottenham are a one-man team.

Gareth Bale has been at the forefront of Tottenham's pursuit of Champions League qualification, scoring 17 times, and without those goals Spurs would be 10th in the Barclays Premier League. With Real Madrid and Barcelona reported to be ready to swoop for the 23-year-old, many fans are worried that Spurs will struggle to cope without their star man.

But Villas-Boas insists there is more to Tottenham than the flying Welshman. "This is always the problem with big teams," the Tottenham manager said.

"Do Barcelona rely on Lionel Messi? Do Real Madrid rely on Cristiano Ronaldo? I don't think so. But the great players have to make the difference. They are the stars and Gareth has been magnificent this season. We are fortunate to have players who can be decisive on those moments."

Bale scored two of his most impressive goals last week to give Tottenham a 2-1 advantage over Lyon in their Europa League second-round tie, which will be decided in Thursday's second leg at the Stade de Gerland.

Lyon president Jean Michel Aulas, who complained about Tottenham's negotiating tactics over Hugo Lloris last summer, sounded a battle cry to his team, telling Radio Scoop: "The Europa League is a competition that is made for clubs like us. This may allow us to pursue a path to the Champions League. I can not imagine how great it will be if that happens.

"I can not imagine for a moment that we will let anything slip against Les Rosbifs."

Villas-Boas, who will field Brad Friedel in goal rather than Lloris, played down Aulas' comments, saying: "He is a very, very charismatic leader of Lyon.

"It's not because of his words we're going to lose the concentration on our objective.

"We're going to face a tough, tough team and what I can decipher from those words is Lyon will be extremely up the challenge and it will be extremely difficult for us."

Source: PA