AVB: I've learned from Chelsea axing
Andre Villas-Boas claims he feels like a "different manager and different person" as the first anniversary of his departure from Chelsea looms.
Villas-Boas became the latest wealthy victim of Blues owner Roman Abramovich when he was sacked by Chelsea on March 4 last year, yet he could have the last laugh on his former club by edging them out of the top four in his current guise as Tottenham manager.
While he carefully side-stepped questions about the current turmoil involving interim manager Rafael Benitez at Stamford Bridge, stating his desire to finish ahead of the Blues is not a personal motivation this season. However, he did he is a more rounded coach after his chastening experience.
"The experience has served me well," he said, offering a brief reflection on his Chelsea sacking. "You always learn from your mistakes and you try to improve on those mistakes.
"Your man-management, your preparation for the game and your training sessions, everything is experience. In another way you adapt to the culture of the club where you live in, all of those factors add up to a single person improving from a single experience.
"Everybody learns from experience. I feel like a different manager and a different person, but my motivation to finish in the top four with Tottenham is not because it means we may finish ahead of Chelsea."
Villas-Boas believes his side are being driven toward a second successive Premier League top four finish by players still smarting from their misfortune last year, when Chelsea's Champions League triumph denied Spurs a place in Europe's elite competition this season.
The jubilant reaction that greeted Gareth Bale's sensational last minute winner at West Ham on Monday confirmed Tottenham's players are burning with desire to right the wrongs of a year ago this time around.
"What you saw (at West Ham) was down to what they have suffered in the past and what they want to achieve in the future," added Villas-Boas.
"You see a team that plays with so much passion and desire to achieve things. It's never easy finishing in the position that they did, qualifying for the Champions League and seeing it taken away from them because it's the rules.
"Everybody learns from experience. The Spurs players who felt that in their skin definitely take it as an example. It shows what can happen and what you have to be wary of."
Villas-Boas added that emotion and not tactics will be the key factor in Sunday's north London derby against Arsenal, as his side look to open up a seven point lead on their rivals in the battle for a top four finish.
"We have to play this game with lots of emotion," he concluded. "In the end it will be emotion that will decide the game, not any tactical preparation. This is a special game with big emotion always. We have to be ready for this."