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Conte faces difficult balancing act

Chelsea
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Holtby set for Spurs bench role again

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes Sunday's trip to West Bromwich Albion may come a little too soon for new signing Lewis Holtby to make his first Premier League start.

• Blog: Holtby and Bale offer hope

Holtby, 22, made an instant impression during his first Spurs appearance as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Norwich on Wednesday.

And Villas-Boas has made it clear he likes what he has seen from the Germany Under-21 captain, but says he may be required to make another cameo appearance from the bench at West Brom.

"He came and did extremely well, having a direct impact on how we were playing," Villas-Boas said. "He linked up the game very well, so I'm happy that he made an impact straight away, which is always important when you bring a player in. He is a top talent.

"Maybe it's a little too early for him to start. He needs more time to settle in, both on the pitch and personal life. He is looking to find a house, trying to settle all the things that surround him, but you can see he gets along very well with everyone quickly. Lots of players are doing well for us, so it is difficult to get into the team."

Villas-Boas is expecting a tough test of his side's shaken confidence when they travel to The Hawthorns, after a week that has seen Tottenham crash out of the FA Cup at Leeds and drop two points at Norwich.

"After the cup exit we were very, very disappointed and we wanted to come back to winning ways quickly at Norwich, but fortunately we did enough in the second half to come back into the game and draw," Villas-Boas said. "It was not the result we wanted, even though it was not a bad result away from home.

"The mood around the camp is one of commitment of a team that wants to get back to winning ways. It's been a while since we have won and the longer it goes on, the commitment to win again grows.

"We face a tough game at West Brom. They are having an extremely good season whatever happens on Sunday. They are in ninth position and now they are a little lower and people see this as a negative, but this is extremely unfair. Steve (Clarke) is doing a fantastic job and hopefully his work should be recognised."

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