Friedel to start against Reading
Andre Villas-Boas insists Hugo Lloris is happy with life at Tottenham, but has warned the France captain he will have to be patient in his bid to wrestle the starting spot away from Brad Friedel.
Many assumed Lloris would immediately be installed as Tottenham's first choice following his £8million deadline day move from Lyon, but Villas-Boas said Friedel was still his number one after he put in an outstanding display in the last fixture against Norwich.
Following the draw against the Canaries, Villas-Boas said there was no way he could drop Friedel for Sunday's clash against Reading - a comment that did not go down well with Lloris and his national coach Didier Deschamps.
Deschamps told a press conference last week that Lloris had "not appreciated
the comments of his coach" and the player himself said Villas-Boas' comments were "not nice to hear".
The Spurs boss held a clear-the-air meeting with the 25-year-old this morning at the club's new training ground and he insists the goalkeeper fully understands why he is sticking with Friedel for this Sunday's game at Reading.
"We have had a conversation with Hugo. We are extremely happy that he is part of this squad. We have no doubts about his talent and his future in the club, but against Reading we have made the decision to continue with Brad," Villas-Boas told a press conference.
"At the moment we feel that Brad is looking consistent and deserves (to play) bearing in mind his last performance against Norwich, and against West Brom, which was extremely positive. Hugo just has to be patient and of course he will be patient. He knows that he competes for the first team. He told me: 'I'm here to compete and I'm here to prove that I'm the best'. When you hear this from a player you know that the commitment is there for him to make sure that he gets into that position, so there is no issue whatsoever.''
Villas-Boas already had three goalkeepers on his books - Heurelho Gomes, Carlo Cudicini and Friedel - by the time he landed Lloris, who captained Les Bleus to wins over Finland and Belarus during the international break.
The Portuguese insists signing Lloris will prove to be the right move in the long-term, however, as he looks to lower the average age of his first team.
"We've decided, bearing in mind what we want to do regarding the future, we needed to bring a player of Hugo's talents to the team as soon as possible - and bearing in mind the market possibilities and the price that we got for Hugo, it was an excellent grab for us," Villas-Boas said.
Lloris may even miss out on a place on Tottenham's bench for Sunday's game as he has only trained once with the squad since his move due to the international break.
"I haven't decided (whether he will be on the bench)," the 34-year-old said. I will decide after training tomorrow, but he will be in contention after the game against Reading, because he will also have more time with the team, more time to know his team-mates."
Villas-Boas has endured a miserable start to his reign, losing at Newcastle and picking up two draws against West Brom and Norwich at White Hart Lane.
The home fans booed their team off after the stalemate against the Canaries and had it not been for Friedel, the Londoners could have suffered a heavy defeat.
Tottenham looked clueless at times against the Norfolk club, but Villas-Boas denies he is under pressure to deliver a win against Reading.
"The first win comes when it has to come,'' Villas-Boas said. We want to win all our games but because of mistakes, lapses of concentration, and bad luck, we haven't got the results we wanted. We have to assume the responsibilities for the results, but what we don't feel at any stage - and particularly at this stage or at this moment - is any kind of pressure because the Premier League shifts on a weekly basis."