Soccer

Villas-Boas: Tottenham not far from major success

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LONDON (AP)

Tottenham has more ''emotional warmth'' than Chelsea and is not far from major success, new manager Andre Villas-Boas said on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Villas-Boas also said he had improved as a coach despite being sacked after less than a season at Chelsea, which then won the Champions League under his replacement, Roberto di Matteo.

The Portuguese coach was hired by Tottenham last week and said in the interview with Spurs TV that his time at Chelsea was still ''extremely gratifying,'' even if it ''went wrong.''

But he felt he'd now taken a step forward with Tottenham.

''It (Chelsea) was an experience that made me a better coach now,'' Villas-Boas said. ''I think as you go past different clubs and experiences you always get something out of them, it molds you into the professional you are now.

''I think my career has been steadily going up and I see this (joining Tottenham) as a step forward. The club (Tottenham) is very solid in the way they support the first team, there is much more emotional warmth in this club, and this is important.''

Villas-Boas also recognized the work done by Tottenham's former manager, Harry Redknapp, who led Spurs to a second consecutive fourth-place finish in the Premier League last season, ahead of both Chelsea and Liverpool and only just off Arsenal in third.

That would have put Tottenham into next season's Champions League, had Chelsea not beaten Bayern Munich in this year's final to take the fourth English spot in Europe's top club tournament.

Villas-Boas said Spurs was in good position to challenge the dominance of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and - more recently - Manchester City in England's top league.

''Tottenham is a team of great tradition and one of teams that, at this moment, is aiming towards even more success,'' he said. ''The distance we have to take to reach success is very short, thankfully because of the work that has been done in the past, which is quality work not only from the previous management, but also the chairman and his vision for the future.

''We know we are very near in terms of winning trophies.''

Putting his team together was of ''massive importance,'' Villas-Boas said, but he gave no hints as to the futures of midfielders Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric, who have been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane.

Their sale could help finance any changes Villas-Boas wants to make.

Tottenham plays Los Angeles Galaxy, Liverpool and New York Red Bulls on a preseason tour of the United States this month ahead of its first Premier League game against Newcastle on Aug. 18.

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