I can win the title with Spurs… but AVB thought that at Chelsea, where he lasted nine months
20:16 GMT, 11 July 2012
When Andre Villas-Boas addressed his Tottenham players for the first time, he told them they were capable of winning the title.
Not just challenging for a place among Europe's elite, but trying to lift the Barclays Premier League title. For AVB read ASAP – this is a man in a hurry to rebuild his reputation in the English top flight.
On a mission: Villas-Boas has urged his squad to challenge for the Premier League title this season
'We are trying to put together a squad that makes us compete for the title,' said the new Spurs boss.
'It's a proposition I put to the players on the first day we met. We have to see, of course, whether it's realistic or not.
'The fact that most of the players haven't won it in the past can help you get the right frame of mind. From my initial reception from the players, it is possible and, hopefully, we can do it in the near future.'
Harry Redknapp, the man Villas-Boas replaced, said a similar thing after he was so unceremoniously dismissed last month.
Moving on: New Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas (centre) got the sack at Chelsea
'We'll have a go,' was a common Redknapp refrain, a phrase that reflected the manager's ability to motivate his players and the stylish attacking football Spurs played.
Villas-Boas, however, insisted he would be more consistent in his approach to the title and will also play a stronger team in the Europa League, a competition he won in 2011 with Porto.
He was also realistic in accepting Spurs will probably have to do it without Luka Modric, a player who will be allowed to leave only for the 'right offer'.
Villas-Boas said: 'If the player's ambition is to move to another club, we can respect that decision but there are club interests that the chairman will defend.
'One thing that is important is that
we'd like to compete in the four competitions differently, particularly
in the Europa League, which was the first European competition I won.
A lot to live up to: AVB arrived at Chelsea after huge success at Porto but was given the boot after nine months
'Last year was the first year, in recent times, Tottenham made it so public that they wanted to go for the title. It was also part of the fact that in a certain period of the season that margin was achievable.
'You also have to agree with me that Harry was in and out of that quotation. It's very well to promote yourself to the title and to quit (concede defeat) the week after.
'Not that this is a criticism but, if we really want to go for it, this is something that we have to assume from the start.'
A new outlook, a new 'head coach' and a new 30million, 73-acre training centre in Enfield, north-east London.
As Villas-Boas sat down with the written press in a dining room deep inside Spurs' impressive new base, which the first team will move into later this summer, it was difficult to think the club could have picked a new boss more different to Redknapp.
Villas-Boas, 34, said: 'Hopefully, I can build on from what Harry left me with – pushing towards even more ambition and towards even more titles.
'Since 2008, we haven't won a trophy, and it's taking Tottenham towards the future that we want. It goes along with all this running of events that you see around Tottenham regarding this new training ground and the new stadium.
'What we want is that winning mentality. That is what we want to build. We want to build it by assuming we have to compete in a different way, by trying to win trophies.'
Spurs' new training ground is so large you need a golf buggy to ferry you from the gate to the 12,000-square metre main building, which houses a pool, hydrotherapy suite, gym and artificial pitch.
One of the four dedicated first-team grass pitches has been built to the exact specifications of White Hart Lane. The complex has the same feeling of exclusivity and luxury as Chelsea's base in Cobham, Surrey.
Villas-Boas noticeably tensed when the subject of Chelsea was raised but insisted his dismissal did not hurt 'on a personal level' and the 'professional experience was extremely good' for his career.
The considerable frustration, almost powerlessness, he described in explaining how Roman Abramovich gave up – 'quit' – on his Chelsea 'project' told a different story, however, but there was also an admission that certain things will have to change if he is to be a success at Spurs.
'I am always a person who defends certain principles that were never understood in England and that requires much more adaptability from myself,' he said.
'I'm not a guy who is able to criticise anyone in public and I am not a guy who promotes individuals in public but I understand now that certain things can be done better and in the end you evolve in different ways. Hopefully, I can apply the different things I have learned properly.'