Villas-Boas rubbishes sack reports
Manager Andre Villas-Boas came out fighting in the fjords on Wednesday night, insisting that he retains the full backing of the Tottenham board and players despite the club's recent dip in form.
If he had read Wednesday morning's papers, Villas-Boas would have seen claims that his position is under threat following Sunday's 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City.
After a flurry of bets, one bookmaker made Villas-Boas odds-on favourite to become the next top-flight manager to lose his job, but the Portuguese is adamant his position is secure.
The former Chelsea manager, who spent almost B£110million in the summer, admits the Spurs board aired their misgivings about the defeat at the Etihad Stadium to him in a meeting after the game.
But the Spurs boss bristled at suggestions he was on the verge of the sack at a tense press conference 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle.
"I have the confidence of the board. I have the confidence of my players and I have to move on to do a proper job," the Tottenham manager said.
Villas-Boas did concede that the board were unhappy with how the team performed in Manchester, however.
Spurs went behind in the first minute thanks to a mistake from Hugo Lloris, and they collapsed to their worst defeat since 1996.
"The only conversation (the board and I) had recently was two or three days ago," Villas-Boas added.
"The board is of the same opinion that everything went wrong and we hope to get some response in the future.
"It was an ordinary meeting. We only spoke very briefly about the game."
His chairman, Daniel Levy, has not come out to publicly back Villas-Boas, and the Portuguese does not want him to either.
"No. No. That's not his style, and neither do I ask for things like that," Villas-Boas said.
With Tottenham already through to the knockout stages of the Europa League, Thursday's game against Tromso had done little to grab the nation's attention.
But the speculation surrounding Villas-Boas' future has ramped up the interest in the game, which will take place on the artificial surface of the Alfheim Stadium.
Although the local population stands at around 50,000, Tromso are expecting 6,000 fans through the turnstiles despite the sub-zero temperatures in this tiny Norwegian city surrounded by jaw-dropping snow-covered fjords.
Still, Villas-Boas did not seem fazed by the speculation as he says he has become used to rumours and gossip since moving to England for his ill-fated spell with Chelsea.
"I am immune (to criticism) right now," he said.
"I used to read a lot into situations like this, into pressure points when I was at Chelsea, but not any more. I am very indifferent.
"There is only one (area) that I come under pressure from, which is the press."
Villas-Boas lashed out at media coverage of his time in Great Britain.
"I was not treated properly by people (in the media while at Chelsea)," he said.
"I got various opinion makers and column writers that wrote so many lies. If I had any chance that I was liable to sue, (it would be) something that would give me extreme pleasure.
"But you know. It is part of the job, it is something that I have to take on."
Coming in front of a packed media conference, that was quite a bold shot from the Tottenham manager, but by now it was clear he was in combative mood.
Villas-Boas clearly has no time for his critics. Instead, he intends to try his best to get Tottenham back on track.
He will have to do it quickly, as Manchester United travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
"You don't expect results like (the City one) to happen. They normally happen to big teams once every 10 or 20 years," Villas-Boas added.
"All of these people were involved in this difficult experience. All of us feel sad and shame for taking part of it.
"The only thing now we can do is avoid a slip-up of this nature. We want to forget about the result but for that to happen we need to get into a streak of wins that enables us not only to finish first in the Europa League (group) but continue to push forward for those Champions League spots in the Premier League."
Villas-Boas has left 10 players in London for the trip to Tromso, where the locals only see around half an hour of sunlight at this time of year.
Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris, Paulinho, Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon, Sandro and Younes Kaboul have been rested while Emmanuel Adebayor (groin), Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane (back) are injured.
Youth players Ryan Fredericks, Kenneth McEvoy, Laste Dombaxe and Shaquile Coulthirst have all travelled.
A win would guarantee Spurs top spot in Group K with one match to go.