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May 3, 2013

Villas-Boas tips United to test Chelsea

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas expects Manchester United to be firing on all cylinders against Chelsea on Sunday, even though they have already been crowned as Premier League champions.

• Blog: Why spurs won't make top four • AVB: Defining week for Spurs

Villas-Boas is hoping United put a dent in Chelsea's hopes of a top four finish when they welcome the Europa League finalists to Old Trafford, which would boost his Spurs' hopes of beating the Blues to Champions League qualification.

"Players who win titles have a great winning mentality and want to win every single game, so I expect Chelsea to have a very, very difficult game and Manchester United to be at the top of theirs," he said.

"Sir Alex (Ferguson) is an extremely competitive manager so I have no doubts about what he does. We saw an example of that against Arsenal (last weekend) and I don't think Man United will be doing anything differently against Chelsea, particularly after being knocked out of the FA Cup by them.

"This situation happened for me when I was at Porto. We won the league five weeks before the end of the season and we set our targets on securing more records and ended up achieving that."

Villas-Boas insisted his mind has not wandered towards his first return to Chelsea since he was sacked as Chelsea manager, even though next Wednesday's re-arranged fixture looks set to hold the key to his sides Champions League dreams.

Stressing his focus is trained on Saturday's game against Southampton at White Hart Lane, he was keen to play down the significance of his return to Stamford Bridge.

"I have not thought too much about going back to Chelsea for the first time," he said. "My focus is on Southampton this Saturday and then we can start to think about the Stamford Bridge game. It will only be significant if we win this weekend.

"When I go back next Wednesday, I will need to make sure I turn right instead of left when I walk through the doors, but that is all I will think about. I can detach myself from the emotion that goes with it."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has distanced himself from speculation suggesting Tottenham may be eyeing up a bid to sign striker Hulk from Zenit St Petersburg this summer.

During his time as Porto boss, Villas-Boas enjoyed a successful relationship with the Brazilian striker, who has endured something of a turbulent spell since making the move to Russian football, but he does not expect Spurs to be in a position bid for his services ahead of the new season.

"He was my player and scored 36 goals in one season but it's impossible he will make a move here because of the wages that he earns, which would break our balance," added Villas-Boas of the player who cost Zenit a reported €40m last year. "He may have options in the summer but to a club like Tottenham his transfer fee is also impossible."

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