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Andre Villas-Boas praised 'man of the match' Sigurdsson after Tottenham Hotspur's 2-0 win against Norwich City
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas praised Gylfi Sigurdsson’s “man of the match” performance after watching his side cruise to a 2-0 win against Norwich City.
Villas-Boas revealed Sigurdsson was struggling with a dead leg after returning from the international break with Iceland.
But the midfielder was brought into the starting line-up and repaid his manager’s faith with a two-goal haul.
“It was a very good performance from the team, outstanding,” said Villas-Boas after the match. “It’s always difficult to play fixtures after the international break and to do it with so many levels of quality. Physically and tactically, it was very impressive.
“Gylfi returned with a dead leg from international duty and was struggling a lot. We spoke with him in the week and he made himself available for the team. He’s a player that whenever he has opportunities he makes the most of them. He always comes in with a great attitude and it was a man of the match performance for me.”
Another star performer at White Hart Lane was debutant Christian Eriksen, who ran the midfield and had a hand in both goals.
“It was a great debut for Christian,” said the Spurs boss. “For a player of his age, his movement was fantastic. He’s a pure number ten, a creative player. His individual quality made a difference.
“What we have seen from all our new signings, and Lewis Holtby in January, is when you have individual quality, you’re able to jump into the team straight away. And with performances and results like this, we can bond as a team even quicker.”
Villas-Boas said he used the two 1-1 league draws against Norwich last season, and the 2-1 Carling Cup defeat to the Canaries, as motivation for his side’s performance today.
And Tottenham now sit second in the table, behind Arsenal on goal difference, though the manager played down any expectations he has for his team this season.
“It’s very early,” he said. “We want to win all our fixtures before we break up for international duty in October and we have difficult trip to Cardiff next week and a game against Chelsea. So it’s very early to think about anything.
“We want to get the most amount of points we can. It’s a different start from last season but hopefully it doesn’t mean we have a blip in some way and we can continue to get points in the later stages.”
Norwich manager Chris Hughton admitted “it wasn’t a particularly good day for us”.
The former Spurs player and assistant manager said: “We have no complaints today. We were beaten by a very good side. We needed to show more and have periods of possession on the ball and we didn’t do that well enough.
“Giving Tottenham the amount of possession they had, they can really hurt you. Credit to us, we had to defend very well and over 90 minutes with the possession they had, we did that. At 1-0, we’re still in the game, we didn’t deserve it but we’re still in the game.
“On the balance of play, they had not so much clear opportunities but a lot of ball in the final third. We came up against a very good side today and certainly with the figures they’ve spent, we expect that.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t give them a better game but this is a team that’s going to be challenging this season. They’ve not only brought in seven or eight players but they’re all very good players.”
Hughton described Eriksen as a player who is going to be “a real star” and admitted Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ yellow card in the final stages of the match was the only contentious point in the game.
Lloris came out of his goal to clear the ball but was outside his box when he punched the ball, drawing a yellow card from referee Lee Mason.
Asked whether Lloris should have had a red card, Hughton said: “The goalkeeper’s intentions were to play the ball. He knew his momentum would take him outside the box and the referee then has to make decisions around that. Is it intentional handball. For me it has to be. Whether it’s also about players in covering decisions, that’s one I’ll have to think about but my thoughts at the time were he [the referee] wasn’t going to give a red card.”