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Oct 19, 2012

AVB says international players will be fine

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas does not feel his players will struggle for fitness against Chelsea on Saturday after the international break.

Spurs host their London rivals in the day's early kickoff, meaning they trained together Friday for the first time since several members of the squad travelled around the world to represent their national teams.

"I certainly don't expect any problems," Villas-Boas said. "Lot of players have recovery sessions as normal. We have left them on very, very light sessions in the gym with the medical department. So we don't expect any kind of problems at the moment, everyone is feeling okay."

Clint Dempsey scored two goals for the United States against Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier in Kansas City while Kyle Walker, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe were part of the England squad forced to play a day later in Poland because of a waterlogged pitch on Tuesday.

"We are still at the beginning of the league; the players haven't accumulated so much fatigue throughout the season for that to happen," Villas-Boas said. "We have enough time to recover the players. We should be fresh and fine and powerful in the same way."

England's performance in its rescheduled match against Poland, in which it secured a 1-1 draw, came under the spotlight when it was revealed the players had taken both caffeine pills and sleeping tablets because of the postponement.

Villas-Boas feels the use of such supplements aids the mental preparation of a player rather than the physical aspect and does not believe it had any bearing on the result in Warsaw.

"In the end, it's more a question of tricking the mind rather than the actual effect of any kind of sleeping tablet or caffeine. That's the way I see it," he said. "Certainly we use vitamins, we have to take care of players, we use drinks, energetic drinks for players, we use all kinds of situations, like any other team in the world. I don't think it was because of that England got the result they got. I think in the end it's a good point away anyway, because it's never easy to play against Poland, in their stadium, in those conditions, against a team that has players of tremendous talent too."

Defoe also believes he will be fine by the time Spurs line up against the European champions.

"It was heavy out there on your legs, but I'll have a good recovery session and hopefully I'll feel all right at the weekend," he said.

Villas-Boas will face his former employers for the first time since he was sacked as Blues' boss in March, after just nine months in charge.

The Blues suffered a 1-0 defeat at Loftus Road on Oct. 23 -- a match remembered for Anton Ferdinand's claim he was racially abused by John Terry -- at a time when they had a chance to close in on the leaders.

Now Villas-Boas is in charge at Spurs and, looking back on his ill-fated tenure at Chelsea, reckons that singular result led to his downfall.

"When I look now to this exact date last season before we played the QPR game at Chelsea's positions (in the table), after the QPR match we had a consecutive run of bad results," he said. "In the end football results is about stability and jumping from adversity. At my time at Chelsea we never got that stability."

Defoe has been full of praise of the managerial style of Villas-Boas.

"What I like about him is that every game has a different approach. You know exactly how we've got to play, when we've got the ball and not got the ball, Defoe said. "Speak to any of the boys, he has been fantastic for everyone -- every player knows their jobs."

Villas-Boas is targeting a victory that would see Spurs move to within two points of Chelsea at the top of the Barclays Premier League, though he is not expecting an easy ride.

"At the moment I think it's important for us to go nearer the top," he said. There are two teams unbeaten in the Premier League -- Manchester City and Chelsea. To a certain extent Chelsea are showing some form that Man City showed last year, not with the same points but certainly very, very efficient."

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said Tottenham under Villas-Boas is a team that can win the league.

"I think they are," Di Matteo said. "I have talked about United, Manchester City, ourselves and Arsenal and I said there could be a surprise. Spurs over the years have established themselves in the top five and are getting closer and closer to the top."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas fears Tottenham could be without Scott Parker until Christmas. Parker has yet to play this season because of an Achilles injury and although Villas-Boas is encouraged by the 32-year-old's recent progress, he is uncertain how soon he will be ready to return.

"It's difficult for him as he still feels pain and is still disturbed in his recovery," said Villas-Boas, quoted in several national newspapers. "It prevents him from being on the pitch but he has been in the gym with the medical department. It will take two or three weeks -- but we could be looking at Christmas. Hopefully it will be less. It is still within the limits of what we expected. He is making good progress and there has been less pain."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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