Friedel backs Villas-Boas

Tottenham’s players remain fully supportive of manager Andre Villas-Boas, insists goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

The Portuguese boss has come under fire from the press and a small section of Spurs supporters on the back of a mixed start to the season, highlighted recently by an embarrassing 6-0 demolition at Manchester City.

Stories of Villas-Boas facing the sack and disharmony among the players also gathered pace last week, although the media frenzy has been quashed somewhat with a victory over Tromso in Norway in the Europa League and a spirited 2-2 draw at home to champions Manchester United.

“There has never been disunity in the squad,” Friedel told Sky Sports News. “The squad is together and the whole team and all the players back the manager. He’s a very good manager.

“Yes, everyone was upset after the 6-0 loss, we were upset at losing out on the three points and embarrassed at the scoreline, but we stuck together.

“Our performances against Tromso and Man United showed what team spirit we do have.”

Spurs are ninth in the Premier League table, trailing arch rivals and leaders Arsenal by 10 points having spent nearly £110m in the summer.

Following the hammering at the Etihad Stadium on 24 November, Villas-Boas said the clubs should be “ashamed” after their heaviest league defeat since a 7-1 loss to Newcastle in December 1996.

But Friedel, who has been mainly looking on from the sidelines with Hugo Lloris the established No.1, added: “Criticism after a 6-0 loss is going to come. As players, all we can do is get on the training pitch the next time and work hard.

“We had a very professional performance in Tromso in difficult circumstances with the plastic pitch and freezing cold weather. I thought we came through that and the team spirit lifted very nicely.

“Then against Manchester United we were excellent. We were on the front foot and were the better of the two teams with the better chances.

“We showed a really good reaction. I don’t think you’d expect a good reaction from supporters and the press after a 6-0. You just have to avoid watching television or reading the papers and just get on with the job.

“We’re now looking forward to Wednesday night’s game at Fulham.”

Although Villas-Boas was furious with his players after the City defeat, he saved his most vehement comments for the press, claiming there was an “aggressive and driven agenda” against him.

However, the 42-year-old Friedel played down the effect and influence of the media.

“It’s what makes football great, especially in the Premier League,” the American said. “Opinions make the game go round and round, but as players we don’t get involved in the opinion game.

“If you win a match then you have to look at what you did right and wrong. If you lose a game then it’s the same. We lost and we lost heavily, but we regrouped, stayed strong and hopefully we’ll now go on a run.

“Opinions will be here, there and everywhere for every club, and that’s part and parcel of football. It’s also the great thing about the sport.”

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