Premier League: First win in three has Villas-Boas jumping for joy



TRIUMPHANT Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was delighted to see his side back among the Premier League pacesetters after their victory at Villa Park yesterday.

Spurs had failed to win their previous two league matches, both at White Hart Lane, following a draw with Chelsea and defeat to West Ham.

However, goals either side of half-time from Andros Townsend and Roberto Soldado saw Spurs return to winning ways and move three points behind league leaders Arsenal, to the satisfaction of their manager.

“After a setback at home it’s always important to respond. This keeps us in touch with the teams at the top and is a result we deserved,” said Villas Boas.

“It was difficult for us in the first minutes. It was very unpredictable, Villa played a lot of long balls stretching us and we had to get our act together.

“We did after 20 minutes, then in the second half we were very good. After 2-0 we could have scored more. The second goal is always important when you are away from home. It takes the pressure off and gave us lots of confidence.”

Spurs were slow to settle on a damp day at Villa Park and took 17 minutes to register their first attempt on goal when Brazilian midfielder Sandro saw a fizzing 25-yard effort well held by goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

However, the visitors took the lead on 31 minutes when in-form winger Townsend saw a curling right-wing cross evade everyone inside the penalty area and find the net.

Assistant referee David Bryan was hit by a flare thrown as Spurs supporters celebrated the goal, an incident the FA is set to investigate.

Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson went close to doubling Spurs’ lead five minutes later with a header that crept wide, while Townsend saw a low effort pushed around the post by Guzan.

Villa had chances before the interval, though both Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann failed to hit the target from outside the box.

After the break, Guzan denied Paulinho his fourth goal of the season with a smart save to keep out the Brazilian’s half volley from the edge on the penalty area.

Aston Villa introduced striker Christian Benteke from the substitutes bench to try and gain a foothold in the match. And the Belgian almost made an immediate impact though could only head over the crossbar from eight yards after losing his marker.

Spurs wrapped up the points on 69 minutes when Lewis Holtby came in from the left-flank and squared for Paulinho, whose first time through pass picked out Soldado, and the Spain striker finished coolly for his first goal in six games.