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Villas-Boas to continue juggling keepers

Andre Villas-Boas insists no final decision has been made on who will be Tottenham’s first choice goalkeeper.

Hugo Lloris, the 12-million-pound summer signing from Lyon, was handed his first league start for Spurs’ 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday, ending 41-year-old Friedel’s run of 310 consecutive Premier League appearances.

The France number one kept a clean sheet but Villas-Boas was careful to praise Friedel’s ‘immense’ displays and refused to be drawn on who will start their next fixture against Chelsea on September 20.

“The change was not based on performance because Brad has been immense. In the future we will have to decide on who to play,” explained Villas-Boas.

“We decided after speaking about it with the technical staff that it would be logical to get Hugo acquainted with Premier League games – he can’t only play in the Europa League. He will now play with the national team and get a continuum of four games in a row.

“We spoke with Brad because he deserves that respect. He was obviously disappointed with the decision but he respected it, being the good professional that he is.”

Tottenham’s victory, thanks to second-half goals from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon, was their fourth league win in a row and leaves them fifth in the table ahead of the visit of unbeaten leaders Chelsea.

Having already beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford, Villas-Boas is already relishing the visit of his former club when they come to White Hart Lane after the two-week international break.

“We now have the opportunity to play the unbeaten league leaders at home in our next game in two weeks,” Villas-Boas added.

“Chelsea’s attacking force is surprising everybody and we understand the movement they have in behind Fernando will cause problems. It will be a difficult came but we hope to profit from the fact that we are playing at home and playing well.

“Our good form is a boost but it’s not better than Chelsea’s. Chelsea are in extremely good form. Both managers will have to look at the recovery period to put out a fresh team.

“When this stadium rocks, it rocks properly. It’s a very closed environment and we need to get that type of intensity.

“It’s very early stages but at the moment we are getting the results that we want.

“At the start of the season we didn’t get the results we wanted but we are getting more consistent now.”

Meanwhile, Villa manager Paul Lambert was content with his side’s performance despite their defeat.

Belgian striker Christian Benteke had an opportunity to give the visitors the lead but missed and Lambert was left to rue Villa’s misfortune up front.

“When you have big chances like that at a place like this, you’ve got to score. We had a great chance to go 1-0 up, it was a big moment to miss that chance,” Lambert said.

“You need a bit of luck somewhere along the line. I thought we were well in the game, they came at us from all angles but we more than held our own.

“I’m not disappointed with the way we played, we were playing one of the best teams in the country.”

Lambert also defended his decision to name Darren Bent amongst the substitutes for the second successive match in favour of Benteke.

“It’s the decision I made. It’s the system we play and it was the right decision in my view,” Lambert told Sky Sports.

“I just think Darren is a better player with someone up beside him. Christian is a big, strong player who can lead the line as a targetman.

“When you pick a team, you’ve got to think of the opposition you’re playing as well.

“Darren has been fine, I would tell you if he wasn’t. I understand his frustration but I try and pick a side that might win us the game. He will play games, I need everybody. I’m not going to make a mountain out of a molehill.”

Sun 7 October, 2012
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