It was good to see Andre Villas-Boas reminding the Tottenham players to stay focused and concentrate as the match against Swansea entered added time. With Tottenham’s much discussed problem of conceding late goals and last weekend’s sorry demise during ’88 seconds of madness’ in added time preying heavily on his mind Villas-Boas stepped forward to the edge of his technical area and was clearly seen reminding the players to stay focused.
Speaking on the events of the final minutes during the Everton game, Villas-Boas acknowledged that it had been disappointing.
“The last minutes were our best with Clint’s goal …, we kept the ball and played well, but then the game changed completely against the run of play. The dressing room was extremely disappointed after Everton. To see the result shift and us to take nothing was difficult.”
As the fourth official indicated that there would be a minimum of five minutes added time at White Hart Lane (which turned into 8 with the fracas surrounding Hugo Lloris making contact with Michu as he punched clear), the Spurs manager was conscious of the need for his players to concentrate to the final whistle as they held on to their slender lead. After Jan Vertonghen’s goal Spurs, as happened last weekend at Goodison Park, played out time without any real alarms but the manager wanted to ensure the job was completed this time. There was no margin for error so it was essential to maintain a clean sheet, something Spurs had only managed twice, before yesterday, in the Premier League this season.
Swansea were eager to force the play and with a number of free-kicks and corners in those final ‘additional’ minutes, Spurs needed to defend stoutly. They managed to achieve the objective, although they could have done without the extra three minutes that came with the concerns over Michu’s welfare after he had been clattered by the goalkeeper.
Speaking after the Swansea game, Villas-Boas acknowledged that he had talked and worked with the players during training to try to improve their concentration levels as matches draw to a close. In an article in the Camden New Journal, Dan Carrier reports on how Villas-Boas tried to resolve this particular problem.
‘AVB revealed he had asked his team during training through the week to work on seeing out matches. He said he had tailored training sessions to be increasing complex towards the end – to tune his team into concentrating right through till the final whistle.’
After the win over Swansea Villas-Boas said,
“We addressed this as a group in training. We spoke about concentration, and today we were patient, we were persistent, we defended solidly.”
It’s good to see that Villas-Boas’ attention to detail had its reward against Swansea. It attention to matters like that which ultimately brings success.