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Villas-Boas wary of rejuvenated Newcastle

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is wary of facing a new-look Newcastle on Saturday.

Villas-Boas believes Newcastle’s January recruit drive has made them sterner opposition.

The Magpies recruited Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Mathieu Debuchy, Massadio Haidara, Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko in the winter transfer window and have since beaten Aston Villa and Chelsea.

Coupled with the returns of key players from injury, the Spurs manager anticipates Alan Pardew’s men to be inspired to rediscover their form of last season.

“These are players that had an immediate impact in the team, that can make the difference,” Villas-Boas told reporters.

“The strikers were caught between the contract and possibility of leaving like Demba Ba or (Papiss) Cisse.

“I think they’ve found their ground now with the additions that they have.

“Two wins is a massive boost for them, relieving pressure from the relegation battle they were in.

“We are unsure what they can still do but we predict Newcastle to continue to climb (up the table).”

Villas-Boas was particularly impressed with the signing of Sissoko, whose two-goal home debut in the 3-2 win over Chelsea has already made his two million pounds move from Toulouse look like one of the bargains of the season.

“Sissoko was a great grab,” he said.

“A couple of years ago, he was being linked with the top clubs in the world, and to get him at such a low price was a massive coup for them.”

Unlike Newcastle, Spurs endured an extremely quiet January transfer window, with Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby the only arrival at White Hart Lane.

Villas-Boas revealed he was not willing to panic buy despite Emmanel Adebayor’s Africa Cup of Nations commitments.

“It’s a risk that we weren’t willing to take,” he said.

“We spoke about it a lot over here. The injuries have happened. Fortunately it’s not a dramatic injury.

“Our calendar this month is not that bad. We play this game against Newcastle, then play against Lyon, then have the whole week to prepare for Lyon, and then (Jermain) Defoe will be back.

“It was this exact squad without Lewis that put us in the position where we are now. When you reach the January transfer market you’ve already played most of the teams so we are extremely confident for the rest of the season.

“What we can regret is conceding a couple of late goals that prevented us challenging for first or second.”

Thu 7 February, 2013
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