Another tough task for Spurs

Updated: 2013-12-01 06:50

By Agence France-Presse in London(China Daily)

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Seven days on from their 6-0 humiliation at Manchester City last weekend, Tottenham Hotspur face another daunting assignment on Sunday when improving Manchester United visits White Hart Lane.

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas branded the result at the Etihad Stadium "extremely embarrassing" but if his side is to get back on track, it will need to overcome United at home for the first time in 12 years.

United was also left disappointed last Sunday after conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Cardiff City but it responded in masterful fashion in the Champions League.

Wednesday's 5-0 success at Bayer Leverkusen took David Moyes's side into the last 16 and was the club's biggest victory away from home in Europe since the 1960s heyday of legendary former manager Matt Busby.

It also extended the champion's unbeaten run to 11 games, but although United's recent record at White Hart Lane suggests it has little reason to approach Sunday's game with trepidation, Moyes feels it is too early to write off Tottenham.

The north London club trails Moyes's side by only a point in the Premier League standings - with United sixth and Tottenham ninth - and the former Everton manager says it remains a dangerous opponent.

"Tottenham are not that far away," said the Scot.

"Sometimes people can get a little bit ahead of themselves. Personally, I don't see him (Villas-Boas) being under pressure, but maybe that is for other people to say.

"No matter when you play Tottenham Hotspur, it will always be a hard game. The matches against Manchester United have been good.

"After a result like they had last week, the reaction can vary. We are both coming off the back of European games as well. The main thing for us is to try and win the game."

The damaging loss to City sparked speculation in the British media that Villas-Boas's days at the club could be numbered, but the Portuguese saw his side respond in positive fashion with a 2-0 victory at Tromso in the Europa League on Thursday.

Spurs are now guaranteed to finish top of Europa League Group K and Villas-Boas believes the victory will have helped his players to move on from the traumatic loss at City.

"I am very happy for the players to have bounced back from the defeat against Man City," he said.

"Obviously the opponent we have on Sunday is the biggest that we can have. But to prepare for that game, it was important to get back to winning ways and we did it in a fashion where we looked solid and created lots of chances."

Villas-Boas is expected to recall first-team players such as Kyle Walker, Paulinho and Sandro, all of whom were rested for the trip to Norway.

However, Emmanuel Adebayor, who made his first appearance of the campaign at City, is doubtful with a groin injury, while Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen will not play due to an ankle problem.

Marouane Fellaini is available for United after serving a European suspension, while Moyes says Nemanja Vidic (concussion) and Robin van Persie (groin) both "have a chance" of playing.

The United manager must also decide whether or not to keep faith with Ryan Giggs, who turned in a vintage performance against Leverkusen, two days before his 40th birthday.

(China Daily 12/01/2013 page7)