AVB ready to banish derby defeat
Andre Villas-Boas wants Tottenham to put their disappointing north London derby defeat behind them by beating Norwich in the first game of the post-Gareth Bale era this weekend.
After a long summer of gossip, controversy and secret negotiations, Tottenham finally sold Bale to Real Madrid on the penultimate day of the transfer window.
With a host of new signings to choose from, Spurs had coped reasonably well without the 24-year-old star, winning four straight games in all competitions.
That run came to an end two weeks ago, however, when Villas-Boas' men put in a poor performance at Arsenal, where they lost 1-0 thanks to Olivier Giroud's first-half strike.
The defeat dented the pride of the Tottenham squad and their manager, who is looking for a response when the Canaries come to White Hart Lane on Saturday.
"That is the only thing we can do," the Tottenham manager told Spurs TV Online.
"The frustration was big after the Arsenal game because we had an opportunity to continue our perfect start to the season, and get a win over our rivals, but we didn't create enough clear cut chances in that game even though we had lots of possession. We wanted a result there.
"The players have come back here now looking ambitious to get the result we need and hopefully they can step up their game so the team can do exactly that."
Although Erik Lamela only arrived back from his stay with the Argentinian national team on Thursday morning, the 21-year-old forward could make his full debut against Norwich, as could B#11.5million man Christian Eriksen.
Norwich notched up a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane two seasons ago and last term Villas-Boas could not register one win against the Norfolk club in three attempts.
The Portuguese hopes the memory of the two draws and the one defeat they suffered at the hands of Chris Hughton's side will drive his team to victory.
"Norwich will be a difficult test. They were a team we couldn't beat last season, so we have to be on our toes," the 35-year-old said.
"I think Norwich are a team who have evolved a lot, individually.
"I think our motivation should be on beating a team we couldn't beat last year. It won't be an easy game, We will approach it in a responsible way."
Spurs midfielder Etienne Capoue, along with Aaron Lennon, will miss the game through injury. Capoue sprained his ankle against Arsenal, but Villas-Boas reckons the Frenchman will be back in three weeks.
Vlad Chiriches is also unavailable as Spurs are still to get a work permit for the Romanian defender. Forward Gylfi Sigurdsson (leg) is a minor doubt and striker Emmanuel Adebayor will not feature as he has been given permission to remain on leave in Togo until Monday for personal reasons.
Sebastian Bassong returns to White Hart Lane this weekend hoping to dent the title ambitions of the club he credits with making him a top Premier League defender.
The Norwich man played 45 times for Tottenham between 2009-2012, scoring the first-ever goal for Spurs in the Champions League, against Young Boys of Berne.
The lessons he learned along the way persuaded Norwich manager Chris Hughton, also a former Tottenham player and assistant manager, to make him Norwich club captain this summer.
Bassong said: "They were great years at Spurs for me. I learned a lot playing in the Champions League with William Gallas and having Harry Redknapp as manager taught me a lot too. It gave me experience. I have had bad times too, but I am happy because I wouldn't have been the player I am today.
"It is a great honour for me to be captain. There is a lot of responsibility. That's good for me. It doesn't change much for me. I used to be really vocal anyway so I have just stayed the same. You want your team to do well."
Norwich's squad could be boosted by striker Gary Hooper, whose debut after his summer signing from Celtic has been put on hold by a shin problem.
Defender Ryan Bennett is fit again after needing stitches in a gashed left knee, an injury sustained in the Capital One Cup victory against Bury. Midfielder Elliott Bennett, meanwhile, is recovering from surgery on a cruciate ligament injury.