Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas
Andre Villas-Boas, wearing shorts and a fresh white Hotspur t-shirt, paused briefly before sitting down at the podium in the basement of the Home Depot Centre. He flashed an impish grin of such childlike glee it was hard to shake the suspicion the Portuguese coach might enjoy these press conferences after all.
Then the questions started. They began with Luka Modric and continued through several other prickly topics. Villas-Boas answered in his customary corporate jargon, hesitant ums and uhs giving his brain time to formulate delicate answers in his second language, reports Goal.com.
He stared mostly into the mid-distance, answering as openly as he could, a wrinkled brow detracting from his natural handsomeness.
The only question that returned some of the youthful delight to the 34-year-old's voice was about Tottenham's tactics for the upcoming season. Villas-Boas gushed about maintaining Harry Redknapp's particular brand of swift, wide, counterattacking soccer.
"Tottenham last year played magnificent attacking football," Villas-Boas said. "We want to keep that exactly as it stands, to take it into the pitch, but training in a different way. We would like to be a team that has speed in possession and different combinations, a team that looks to the counterattack in a very aggressive way. We'll have to make sure we continue to do exactly that like we have in the past."
It's no surprise training sessions have changed. Rafael van der Vaart once said of Redknapp that, "There are no long and boring speeches about tactics." For a detail-oriented, analytical coach like Villas-Boas, who used to prepare intricate team scouting reports for Jose Mourinho, that style of preparation was never an option.
Van der Vaart will just have to tolerate a few boring lectures.
"We're trying to continue with the same system that Tottenham played most of the time last year," AVB said. "It's a system that benefits Rafa and [new signing Gylfi] Sigurdsson as the two players competing for that role behind the striker."
Villas-Boas made it clear he's still looking for the striker to play in front of either playmaker, with Emmanuel Adebayor the frontrunner given his success in the role last season. However, with the Togolese striker still under contract with Manchester City, Villas-Boas was reticent to discuss him too thoroughly.
At the other tip of the formation, there are no plans to replace goalkeeper Brad Friedel. The American's age – 41 – led some to speculate a replacement could arrive, but Villas-Boas nixed that notion.
"The search for a goalkeeper is a non-search to be fair," he said. "It's false that we are looking for a goalkeeper."
Friedel is seven years older than Villas-Boas.