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Tottenham V Reading at White Hart Lane : Match Preview
Published : 31 Dec 2012 16:31:29
Tottenham V Reading - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
AVB keen to avoid Royal mess
Andre Villas-Boas has told his Tottenham players it would be "silly" for them to let their standards slip at home again when they host Reading.
Spurs can cap a near-perfect festive period with a New Year's Day victory at White Hart Lane after ending 2012 with seven Barclays Premier League points from nine.
The only blip was another disappointing home result, a goalless draw with Stoke that preceded victories at Aston Villa and Sunderland.
That was also one of only two occasions Tottenham have failed to win in their final nine matches of the year in all competitions, their best run of results since Villas-Boas took charge in the summer.
Spurs will be expected to brush aside a Reading team they beat comfortably in September's reverse fixture, but their patchy home form this season suggests victory cannot be taken for granted.
"The problem with that fixture is that we have done extremely well away from home, but we have to keep up the momentum," Villas-Boas said.
"We have to keep our home form going and it would be silly for us not to continue at this level, so it is a fixture in which we really want to get the three points to close finally the festive fixtures with three wins, hopefully, and one draw."
Villas-Boas hailed his players as "magnificent" over the past month.
He added: "They have been excellent. The December that we had shows exactly that.
"We had big, big results against difficult teams and the Europa League in between.
"If we manage to take this form into January, it would be excellent."
Spurs will be without talismanic winger Gareth Bale following his latest controversial yellow card for diving, something which took him over the suspension threshold.
Reading boss Brian McDermott is not expecting an easier game with the Wales international absent.
"Gareth Bale is a top, top player, but they are not a one-man team, they have got players all over the shop now, terrific players," he said.
"I really like the manager (Andre Villas-Boas), he is a friend of mine. They have got one of our old players in Gylfi Sigurdsson, who we had here since he was 14, a top lad and a top player so we know what we are coming up against."
McDermott is likely to resist the temptation to tinker with his team.
The Royals have collected four points from their last two matches as they look to defy the odds and secure another season of top-flight football.
Despite the congested festive fixtures, McDermott named an unchanged side for the last two games, a goalless draw against Swansea and a vital 1-0 success at home to West Ham, and will not be frightened to stick with the same XI at White Hart Lane.
He said: "We are used to playing so many games from the Championship so it isn't really relevant to me. They love playing so we are getting results and sticking with the team, that is how I do it.
"At the moment we want to pick up points, that's what makes people happy around here."