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May 7, 2013

Villas-Boas: Szczesny lacks respect

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has accused Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny of "a lack of respect" after the goalkeeper claimed Spurs "do not have enough quality" to finish in the top four.

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Szczesny made the claim on Monday ahead of Tottenham's meeting with third-placed Chelsea on Wednesday night, as the race for Champions League qualification heads into the final straight.

Villas-Boas, though, insisted those comments were misplaced - and questioned the status of the 23-year-old, who has been at Arsenal since 2008, to make such bold remarks.

"He is entitled to his opinion. It is absolutely fine. You don't expect love from an Arsenal player to Tottenham player. If it touches a bit lack of respect, it is normal in a rivalry," he said.

"I think it would have been a little more tolerable if it had come from a genuine Arsenal fan.

"Coming from an Arsenal player, he is an Arsenal player who is probably only passing by to another club, or who is not going to stay there for life. In the end if he means exactly those words from the heart... he doesn't, for sure.

"I wouldn't say that an Arsenal fan (player) that has just arrived in that club for the last couple of years is entitled to so much hatred towards Tottenham like he seems to have."

Spurs head to Stamford Bridge this week in fifth place, but just two points behind Arsenal and three from Chelsea.

Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea in March 2012 but the Portuguese insists there will be nothing "special" about his first return since the departure.

"It is a club which I have gone past," said the 35-year-old, who was appointed by Spurs last July as Harry Redknapp's successor. I have good and bad memories like everyone else, but it was a period which did not finish the way I would have liked.

"Before I was manager there I was in Jose's team and I had some wonderful years there. Probably the ones that I have spent there as a manager aren't that special, so in that sense, as I have said previously, it doesn't have that kind of effect on me. It is not very, very special."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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