London: Andre Villas-Boas says he will emerge from his crisis at Tottenham Hotspur, describing himself as “immune” to the criticism that would have unnerved him at his previous club, Chelsea.
The manager, who was preparing for Europa League tie at Tromso in Norway on Thursday, has found himself fighting for his job after the club’s hierarchy took a dim view of Sunday’s 6-0 defeat at Manchester City.
It represented the low point of a trying period that has featured home defeats by West Ham and Newcastle, a worrying struggle for offensive fluency in the Premier League and the perception at the club that he has looked to blame others for the difficulties.
Villas-Boas desperately needs a positive result and performance against Manchester United at White Hart Lane on Sunday and, if he could get one, he could move forward with renewed confidence.
The Portuguese admitted that the club’s board had voiced their misgivings about the City result at a meeting with him and he said he was not bothered that the chairman, Daniel Levy, had remained silent in public.
Villas-Boas presented a bullish front and suggested he was a stronger character than the one who was sacked by Chelsea in March of last year after eight months in charge.
“I am immune right now,” he said. “I used to read a lot into situations like this, into pressure points when I was at Chelsea, but not any more. I am very indifferent. There is only one [area] that I come under pressure from, which is the press.
“The only conversation [the board and I] had recently was two or three days ago. The board is of the same opinion that everything went wrong [at City] and we hope to get some response in the future. It was an ordinary meeting. We only spoke very briefly about the game.”
Villas-Boas said he does not want or need a public show of support from Levy. “No, no, that’s not his style and neither do I ask for things like that,” said Villas-Boas, who maintained that he had the “confidence” of the board and players.
The manager had angered some of the squad with his post-match comments at City, when he said that he and they ought to be “ashamed”.
They felt he had passed the blame on to them but the club have sought to highlight the way that he included mention of himself as well.
The fact that some of the players interpreted Villas-Boas’s comments as criticism of them alone reveals either their sensitivity or how they view the manager.
“All of these people were involved in this difficult experience all of us feel sad and shame for taking part in it,” Villas-Boas said. “The only thing we can do now is avoid a slip-up of this nature. We want to forget about the result but for that to happen we need to get into a streak of wins.”