After Tottenham finished level with Manchester United 2-2 in an exciting match, the press conference room was a lot less exciting.
Less exciting and way, way more awkward.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas mumbled his way through a scathing yet contradictory attack of the Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton and Martin Samuel.
On the heels of last week’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, Ashton wrote an article saying AVB’s job could be on the brink, with Spurs sitting in ninth position in the Premier League table.
Villas-Boas rightly pointed out that his team does happen to be in the quarterfinals of the league cup and through into the knockout phase of the Europa League following a perfect group stage record.
However, the manager then went on to call Ashton’s article “agenda-driven” and an attack on “my integrity, my human values, and my professionalism.”
He continued, “It insults the success that I have achieved in other clubs and I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s a lack of respect and an attack on a person’s integrity.”
What followed was incredibly awkward. Ashton, present in the conference, fired back to ask “what was personal in the article?”
That’s where Villas-Boas got both contradictory and confused.
He replied, “You don’t attack people by the front, you attack them sitting when you write.” What Villas-Boas failed to mention is that, unfortunately for some managers, happens to be Neil’s job – to write.
After firing more insults at Ashton, including calling his article “out of order,” and asking reporters to get to know him before making accusations, he came to the conclusion that “that is my opinion” and conceded that “you (Neil) are entitled to yours and I am entitled to mine. Obviously Neil and Martin have theirs and I respect that.”
You respect that? Do you?
Another reporter then asked, “Surely you don’t think there’s a personal agenda against you” to which AVB replied “No, no, I don’t think that.”
What? Didn’t you just say….never mind.
Whether any of this makes sense or not, it made one thing clear: Villas-Boas is having a hard time taking criticism, deserved or not. And as the NBC Premier League broadcast crew discussed, the manager is distracting the media from a pretty good result on the heels of a disastrous one, and replacing the focus from a positive team result back to a negative.
Where will he go from here?