Rumours of unrest quelled as Spurs fight for AVB

Rumours of unrest quelled as Spurs fight for AVB
Tottenham Hotspur's manager Andre Villas-Boas looks on before their Europa League soccer match against Tromso at White Hart Lane in London September 19, 2013.

UNITIED KINGDOM - For those who came to bury Andre Villas-Boas, this was a wasted journey.

Seven days ago, his Tottenham Hotspur side had been trampled over by Manchester City.

One week on, they stood up and fought Manchester United toe-to-toe.

A tough 2-2 draw yesterday will not be enough to ease the pressure from the beleaguered Portuguese manager, but it might at least give him some breathing room to work on his team.

This was a game that neither team could describe as a point won.

The only real winners at White Hart Lane were Arsenal, now nine points clear of Man United and 10 ahead of Tottenham.

But there were positives for both managers. For Tottenham, it was the simple evidence of something that was missing at the Etihad: Backbone.

Villas-Boas surprised a few people with his team selection, opting for physical strength. Nacer Chadli returned to the line-up for the first time since Sept 1, Vladimir Chiriches and Moussa Dembele joined him there. The gamble paid off.

If it's true that Villas-Boas has lost the dressing room, he must have found it again during the week. His players fought for every ball from the start. They did not play like men who wanted to see the back of their manager.

Paulinho, wretched against City, was a renewed force. Aaron Lennon, still finding his fitness after a lengthy injury, neutralised Patrice Evra. It was a vast improvement from last week.

Reward came as early as the 18th minute through a Kyle Walker free-kick.

There are some men in defensive walls who can be criticised for a lack of courage, but none of them wear Man United shirts.

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