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Sep, 14, 2012

Friedel set to start for Spurs

Brad Friedel will start ahead of Hugo Lloris for Tottenham Hotspur's visit to Reading on Sunday, manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed.

The decision will only sharpen perceptions that Villas-Boas is making many of the same mistakes as he did at Chelsea, with France coach Didier Deschamps recently saying that Lloris "did not appreciate" some of the Portuguese's earlier comments about the situation.

The Tottenham boss however, was eager to play down any controversy and insists that Lloris, 25, is content.

"I explained in a conversation with him. At this moment we feel Brad is looking consistent," Villas-Boas said. "We had this conversation with Hugo. We are extremely happy that we have him. There are no doubts about his talent or his future at the club but, at the moment, for the game against Reading we have made the decision to go with Brad."

Villas-Boas was also keen to explain the exact context of the decision, stressing the recent form of Friedel, 41, in contrast to the fact Lloris has barely trained with his new team-mates.

"He will be in contention definitely, after the game against Reading, because he will have more time with the team," Villas-Boas explained. "I think what you have to understand that, at this moment, out of respect to Brad Friedel who has been doing so well in the league, the most common-sense decision has been to play against Reading and continue to be our first choice.

"At this moment in time, bearing in mind Brad's performance, it would have been extremely unfair for Brad not to keep his position in goal and it doesn't affect the fact that we made one of the biggest summer transfers of the moment. It's something for Hugo, for his professional career, and it's something excellent for the club regarding our future goalkeeper. Again, this was explained to Hugo because you also have to bear in mind that the market was closed Friday. Hugo then went on to international team duty so it is the first time he is with fellow companions."

Villas-Boas also flatly denied that Lloris was a Daniel Levy signing who was imposed on him.

"I think if the decision was not made by myself I wouldn't be sitting here so this is the situation," he said. "We decided, bearing in mind what we want to do in the future, we want to bring in a player of Hugo's talent as soon as possible. Bearing in mind the possibilities, the market price we got for Hugo, the fact he is Lyon No. 1 and French captain, it was an excellent grab for us and we look forward to a good future."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas stated it is now unlikely Spurs will try to sign long-term target Joao Moutinho in January.

"The January market is very, very difficult and expensive," he added. "It's highly unlikely we will go back in for Moutinho, also because we will have by then Parker coming back and we want him to come back as soon as possible. He is a player of maximum importance and we feel he can add so much to the squad that we are waiting for when he comes back."

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