Monday 08 October 2012
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Vilas-Boas insists Brad Friedel still has a future at the club despite being overlooked in favour of Hugo Lloris, who kept a clean sheet in his side's 2-0 home victory against Aston Villa.
By dropping Friedel to hand Lloris his Barclays Premier League debut the Portuguese ended the 41-year-old's record of 310 consecutive top-flight starts, but Villas-Boas denied that his decision would leave the American second in the pecking order for the remainder of the campaign.
"The change was not based on performance because Brad Friedel has been immense for this football team"
Andre Villas Boas
"We spoke among the staff this week about it and we thought it was logical to let Hugo come into a Premier League game because he can't just play in the Europa League," said Villas-Boas.
"Brad obviously was disappointed with the decision but accepted it like the good professional he is."
Friedel's remarkable run stretched back to August 2004, when he started in goal for Blackburn Rovers against West Bromwich Albion and he has played excellently in recent matches, almost single-handedly sparing his side from defeat against Norwich City last month.
"Obviously the change was not based on performance because Brad has been immense for this football team," the 34-year-old said. "We respect that and we will surely look at that for the game against Chelsea.
"This was a chance to give Hugo a continuous run of games for Tottenham and the national team."
Aside from their defensive solidity, Tottenham shone at the other end of the field in an impressive display of attacking football, marked by goals from Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon, that took them up to fifth place in the standings.
The north Londoners are a side in form, which will make Villas-Boas’s reunion with his former side Chelsea – the early season pacesetters – all the more intriguing on 20 October.
"The ambition to be among the top teams we have is immense and it gives us a good opportunity [against Chelsea]," added Villas-Boas. "It's obviously going to be a difficult game but we are showing good levels of competence and we hope to profit from the fact that we play at home, and profit from the fact that we play an unbeaten league leader. That will help on our motivation to try to beat them."
Paul Lambert, meanwhile, felt that his side's disappointing finishing cost them at White Hart Lane, with striker Christian Benteke firing straight at Lloris and then sending a free header wide.
"When you come to places like these, you have to take your chances," said the Aston Villa manager. "Their first chance was very fortunate for them – we has two chances beforehand – the header and the shot from the pull-back which went straight to the goalkeeper.
"I said to him just then that you have to score at this level. Christian [Benteke] has to hit the target with his header. They were terrific chances. He's only a young lad and he we will learn, but you have to take those chances.
"But I thought we gave a very good account of ourselves. I can't fault the effort, that was there in abundance. Now we pick ourselves up and go again.
"I am disappointed to lose but some of the things were really pleasing. The great thing is the lads kept on going, even with ten men. They never capitulated."
You can read a full report, follow how the match unfolded, view the best photos and stay up to date with all the statistics by clicking on the link below.
Tottenham 2-0 Aston Villa: view match report, stats and photos here