Villas-Boas applauds Terry focus

The Blues skipper learned on Wednesday he will be charged by the

Criminal Prosecution Service for alleged racist comments he made

towards Anton Ferdinand during the west London derby at QPR in

October. Despite getting a barracking from the home support

throughout Thursday night’s Premier League match at White Hart

Lane, the defender put in a solid display at the back and made a

crucial intervention to deny Emmanuel Adebayor’s goal-bound effort

at the death. Unmarked, the Tottenham striker latched on to Gareth

Bale’s ball just inside the box, but Terry flung himself at the

ball to avert what would have been a harsh defeat on the visitors

as the match ended 1-1. Villas-Boas has given his unequivocal

support to Terry, who has vowed to clear his name, ever since the

race row erupted two months ago. The Chelsea boss remained as such

on Thursday night, showering praise on the 31-year-old while

insisting he never had any doubts about putting him in the starting

XI in such a hostile atmosphere as a London derby. “His

performances, commitment and concentration have increased since the

incident and he anticipated the situation at the end there tonight.

It was a big opportunity for Tottenham,” Villas-Boas said. “His

quality and talent are never in doubt. He’s completely focused to

the cause of this football club.” Tottenham went in to the match as

favourites and looked set to run riot when they began at breakneck

speed, pushing Chelsea on the back foot before taking the lead

through Adebayor in the eighth minute. Daniel Sturridge got Chelsea

back in the game soon after and the visitors continued to threaten,

going close to winning the game through Ramires, who should have

buried a header when unmarked inside Tottenham’s box towards the

end of the second half. Villas-Boas’ men would have leapfrogged

Tottenham in to third with a win, but considering the hosts were on

a run of one defeat in their previous 13 games, the Portuguese was

pleased with his team’s display. He said: “The result really

doesn’t matter. The performance was outstanding. If a ball had gone

into our net in the last minute, I would have left satisfied. “We

didn’t lose two points. Coming here with Tottenham on the run

they’re on, with the form they’re showing in the league, to get a

point is excellent. “If you had said at the beginning of December

that we’d go through these games with two wins and two draws, I’d

have taken it running into the home fixtures. “Our second half was

brilliant. For us to impose ourselves as we did is extremely

gratifying.” Villas-Boas’ team sit 11 points behind Premier League

leaders Manchester City, but still thinks his team’s chances of

lifting the title are alive. “I think we can still win it,” the

former Porto boss said. “We came to Tottenham, a side who are title

challengers, so it’s a good point to get. We’ve been in worse

situations before and recovered to seven points. I’m sure we can

shorten the distance.” Villas-Boas’ delight was tempered slightly

by the news that Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel had to come

off with hamstring injuries and are now major doubts for the Boxing

Day clash against Fulham. Spurs now have injury worries of their

own too after Rafael van der Vaart came off with a hamstring injury

that is likely to keep him out for the festive period. Spurs boss

Harry Redknapp was disappointed to see his team lose momentum after

such a strong start. “We dominated that first 20 minutes or so,

then they scored against the run of play, but a point is a point,”

the 64-year-old said. “It got difficult in the second half. Rafa

did a hamstring again and we had no one to play on the right

comfortably. “I played Luka Modric there, and brought another

striker on, and they had the extra man in midfield, so they had

more possession and it was hard work for us.”