Andre Villas-Boas believes his Tottenham team have a “massive week” ahead of them, with two London derbies and a clash against Liverpool to contend with in the space of just six days.
Spurs host West Ham for the first London derby on Sunday afternoon before Brendan Rodgers’ side come to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening, and then the Portuguese’s side travel to Fulham next Saturday.
While the tough fixture schedule will stretch the 35-year-old’s squad to its limits, he insists his side are ready for the matches – and has hailed Mousa Dembele’s return from injury ahead of the crunch clashes.
??”It’s a massive week for us because it’s one fixture after another and then it’s the Europa League again,” he told the club’s official website.
Villas-Boas’ side could go above the Hammers into seventh place if they win on Sunday, but Sam Allardyce’s team have been in fine form after being promoted, and the Portuguese feels Spurs must play on their own terms to win.
??”The players are up for this game, that’s for sure,” he continued. “It’s an important game, and a completely different story to Lazio.
“We have to be aware of their strengths and when we have the ball, not to go into their game, to keep the ball on the ground and try to create opportunities.”
And with a number of important games close together, Villas-Boas was grateful to see summer signing Mousa Dembele return against Lazio in the Europa League: “It’s important to get everyone back and great to see Mousa back in action.”
Spurs have taken 17 points from 12 games and currently sit in eighth position in the table, 13 points behind leaders Manchester United but having played one game less.
After a goalless draw in Italy on Thursday night, the north London side need only a point to qualify from Group J in the Europa League.