Tottenham Hotspur vs. Reading  3 - 1


Villas-Boas wowed by Lennon improvement

1 January 2013 19:51

Andre Villas-Boas hailed the recent performances of Aaron Lennon after Tottenham Hotspur's 3-1 win over Reading on Tuesday.

Right winger Lennon dazzled on the flank during Spurs' victory over Brian McDermott's men at White Hart Lane, providing an assist for Emmanuel Adebayor to give the home side the lead after Pavel Pogrebnyak's opener was cancelled out by a Michael Dawson goal.

Villas-Boas feels the player has stepped up his performances to another level and will have a major role to play as the north London side chase Champions League qualification.

"He has been massive. Sometimes he leaves a little bit in the shadows, but he recognises being at another level in terms of his performances," he told Sky Sports.

"He has been tremendous for us, not only creating but scoring too."

"He is creating within himself such a winning mentality for Tottenham. It's important to have him around and for the fans to see his desire and commitment in every single game. He was a full credit to us today."

Villas-Boas praised Reading for the effort they showed, but expressed his pleasure at seeing his side battle back for the points and pick up three wins and a draw from the last four games.

"(It was an) impressive performance from the boys to come back again, (we had) so many opportunities to score, so many opportunities for us to open up our goal difference but still very, very happy for the effort," he said.

"(Reading) came here and had a go and scored a goal which was important for them. Our task was not going to be easy, and after they scored it was even more difficult.

"We've taken 10 points out of these four festive fixtures and it's important for the team."

Reading manager Brian McDermott was frustrated to lose after taking the early lead but paid tribute to Chelsea discard Villas-Boas for his fine work with the Spurs squad in just his first season in charge.

"It was frustrating to concede an equaliser straight after scoring and if we could have had it at 1-0 at half time then it would've been a really good game," McDermott said.

"This is a really good Tottenham side that Andre has built here and not many people will come away from here taking points."


Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur 3 Reading 1

1 January 2013 18:10

Tottenham celebrated the New Year in style as they moved up to third in the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Reading at White Hart Lane.

The visitors took a shock lead in the fourth minute through Pavel Pogrebnyak's header but Spurs levelled five minutes later as captain Michael Dawson glanced the ball home from a corner.

Andre Villas-Boas' side completely dominated the game and sealed the result in the second half through an Emmanuel Adebayor header and a deflected strike from substitute Clint Dempsey.

It was a victory that rewarded Tottenham's patience, as they extended their excellent run to seven wins in their last nine matches, while Reading remain second from bottom in the table.

Spurs made one change to the side that beat Sunderland as Gylfi Sigurdsson - lining up against his former team - replaced the suspended Gareth Bale, while Reading named an unchanged line-up for the third successive game.

Reading arrived in north London having lost eight out of their 10 previous away matches this season, but the visitors took a shock lead in the fourth minute, Pogrebnyak scoring his fourth league goal of the campaign.

It was the simplest of finishes for the Russian as he responded quicker than the Spurs defenders to head into an empty net after Ian Harte's wonderful curling free-kick crashed off the underside of the crossbar.

The lead did not last long, however, and five minutes later Spurs were level. Sigurdsson whipped in a vicious in-swinging corner and Dawson got in front of the Reading defenders to glance his header into the far corner.

From that moment, Spurs dominated possession and territory but struggled to break down Reading's well organised defence as space narrowed and gaps closed in the final third.

Andre Villas-Boas' side were largely restricted to shots from range, with Moussa Dembele firing just wide from 30 yards before Jermain Defoe's powerful strike skipped just past the post, with Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici well beaten.

But Reading's resistance could only last until five minutes after the restart. Aaron Lennon skipped past Harte on the right side of the penalty area and stood up an excellent cross for Adebayor to head in from seven yards for just his second league goal of the season.

Spurs pressed for a third goal but could not find a route to the Reading goal before the visitors served up a reminder of the fragility of a one-goal advantage when Pogrebnyak forced Hugo Lloris into a smart save and then headed the rebound wide.

It seemed to inject some life into Brian McDermott's side, who nearly equalised when Alex Pearce's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Dawson.

Yet the Royals were swiftly punished, as Dempsey sealed the result with a shot from 25 yards that deflected off Mikele Leigertwood, looping over Federici and into the net.


Dembele calls for focus

1 January 2013 02:25

Tottenham midfielder Moussa Dembele has warned his side they will face a tricky test when they come up against Reading on New Year's Day.

Andre Villas-Boas' side have won six of their past eight league games and sit three points ahead of local rivals Arsenal in a top-four race which looks set to go right down to the wire, with Everton and West Brom in close pursuit.

The busy festive period always offers up a congested fixture list and Dembele says despite Brian McDermott's side struggling at the bottom end of the table for most of the campaign, their upcoming clash at White Hart Lane is far from a foregone conclusion.

"We're back at home and it's an important game for us against Reading," Dembele told the club's website.

"Everyone expects that we'll go out there and win but it won't be easy. We have to be 100 percent concentrated for this game."

Tottenham's 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday saw them into fourth place in the English Premier League after coming back from a goal behind.

Dembele feels that battling form will stand them in good stead going forward.

"Everyone knows Sunderland is a difficult place to play, so we're very happy with the win," he said.

"We played very well and went 1-0 down, but we all believed if we played the same way in the second half then we'd get a good result.

"We had a great mentality, everyone trying to motivate each other and it worked.

"We're playing well as a team, playing good football and things are going well for me as well personally. That makes it much easier to play my game. Yes, I'm very happy at the moment."


Premier League preview: Tottenham v Reading

30 December 2012 13:08

High-flying Tottenham will be confident of extending their unbeaten run to five games when they host Reading on Tuesday.

Spurs extended made it four games without defeat courtesy of a hard-fought 2-1 win over a resilient Sunderland side on Saturday, with an own-goal by Carlos Cuellar and an Aaron Lennon strike three minutes later cancelling out a rare John O'Shea goal in the first half.

The win did come at a price however, with Gareth Bale picking up his fifth yellow card of the season for simulation, meaning the livewire Welshman will miss the clash with the Royals.

Andre Villas-Boas, who now now has the best win record (62.5 percent) of any Tottenham manager since 1908, will still be confident his side can get all three points against lowly Reading despite the loss of Bale, with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Reading's player of the year in 2009/10, a ready-made replacement.

The visitors meanwhile will head into the clash at White Hart Lane full of confidence after they picked up their second win of the season, defeating West Ham 1-0 on Saturday thanks to an early Pavel Pogrebnyak goal.

Brian McDermott's side have endured a tough start to life back in the Premier League but are now undefeated in two matches and a result at Tottenham would boost chances of survival as the second half of the season begins.

By the same token, Tottenham, who themselves are dreaming of a return to the Champions League, cannot afford to drop points against the likes of Reading as they look to cement their place in the top four in a congested top-half of the Premier League table.

The depth of Villas-Boas' squad and Reading's notoriously leaky defence, which has conceded 37 goals to date this season, make it hard to picture anything other than a Tottenham victory, and a comfortable one at that.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25