Villas-Boas hails Tottenham grit after Stoke victory

The Portuguese boss paid tribute to his side's powers of recovery after they weathered an early Potters storm to earn a win which keeps their Champions League hopes alive
Andre Villas-Boas hailed the character of his Tottenham side after they came from behind to beat Stoke and pile the pressure on Arsenal in the top four race.

Emmanuel Adebayor netted the winner seven minutes from time after Clint Dempsey had cancelled out Steven N’Zonzi’s opener in the first half, while Charlie Adam was sent off.

And Villas-Boas believes standing up to the Potters’ early onslaught will serve his players well as they gear up for a tense final day of the season next Sunday.

1/1 Totteham are 1/1 with bet365 to finish in the top four
“It’s extremely important because it keeps us in the frame for the Champions League, so the dream is still alive for us,” he told reporters.

“We don’t depend on ourselves anymore, but we wanted to take it to the last day.

“We were patient in the game and kept the ball moving. We made an important number of passes, and in the end we managed to make the breakthrough and get an important result.

“We’ve managed to invert lots of results this season. It’s good for us because going through difficulty and overcoming it is excellent for a team’s character.

“In an ideal world you don’t want to have those difficulties – you want to score early, but our experiences this season will help us feel more confident for the future.”

Tottenham now sit two points ahead of Arsenal, who face FA Cup winners Wigan on Tuesday evening, and Villas-Boas expects the Latics’ Wembley triumph to make them formidable opponents.

“Great emotions and motivations are going through Wigan’s players at the moment,” he added.

“We saw Dave Whelan’s message saying they are completely focused on staying in the Premier League, so I will suppose their focus is on trying to play a good game against Arsenal.

“We will see a Wigan that is very motivated, so they will give them a hard game. The objectives are there for both teams, so I’ll expect a competitive match.”

Tony Pulis, meanwhile, accused referee Kevin Friend of ruining the game as a contest by handing out two soft yellow cards for Adam.

“For the first booking, I don’t think Charlie’s touched Vertonghen at the back post,” he insisted. “He’s gone in with his foot high but he’s gone in to connect with the ball, so that’s disappointing.

“The second one, Charlie’s made a mistake by sliding in, but again I don’t think he touches Vertonghen.

“The disappointing thing is, I watch football week-in and week-out and you see some challenges that don’t get bookings, and you’ve seen some today that have got bookings.

“What disappoints me is we’ve had a full house here, it’s been a great day, people have come to watch a real game of football, and it’s been taken away from them.”