AVB wants greater consistency

  • Last Updated: December 24 2012, 8:05 GMT

Andre Villas-Boas thinks referees are not being consistent enough in the way they deal with holding in the penalty area.

Ande Villas-Boas: 'It's about trying to get some consistency'
Ande Villas-Boas: 'It's about trying to get some consistency'

Several Tottenham players, the most notable of which was Emmanuel Adebayor, were unhappy at the way the likes of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth grappled with them as they jostled for position in the box during Saturday's 0-0 draw against Stoke.

Tensions threatened to boil over in the second half of the stalemate when Adebayor squared up to Shawcross as the striker tried to wriggle away from his marker only to be held back by the England centre-half.

Despite the authorities vowing to clamp down on shoving and holding in the box, it is rare for referees to give a penalty to the attacking side even when their forwards are being manhandled in the area.

And Villas-Boas thinks some referees are failing to uphold the law.

"The referees decide on it so differently," the Tottenham manager said.

"You saw a couple of examples (against Stoke). The referee had a difficult game because they're put under so much pressure.

"But it's about trying to get some consistency when you come to analysing these different situations.

"The law was created not so long ago when it comes to pushing and shoving in the box. A couple of referees have decided on the situations, others haven't."

Stoke rarely threatened the Tottenham goal, but in truth they never looked like conceding, thanks to excellent performances from Shawcross and Huth in defence and some bruising work from Steven N'Zonzi in midfield.

Stoke's physical and aerial approach annoys many purists in the game, including Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who two years ago compared the Staffordshire outfit to a rugby team.

But Villas-Boas refused to criticise the Potters' methods.

"I totally respect Stoke," he said.

"What they have achieved this season is tremendous because it gives credit to Tony Pulis' work. You don't expect to play Stoke and for them to take the game easily.

"I admire other types of football. But you have to respect them. It's not easy when you give so much possession to the opponent and you have to defend but all credit to them and their work."

Despite the return of fit-again Gareth Bale, Villas-Boas' team rarely threatened the away goal, and Asmir Begovic's only important save came in injury time when substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson tested him with a close-range header.

The result meant Tottenham now head to Aston Villa on Boxing Day outside the Champions League qualification places.

But Villas-Boas remains convinced his team are on course to achieve their objective of a top-four finish.

He said: "I think we have enough to finish top four. It doesn't shift because of one result.

"There's a lot of teams with 30 points so even if the teams get a couple of points the difference is minimal. The Premier League is like that.

"The team that sits third the other day now sits sixth or seventh in the league."

Stoke, meanwhile, are now eight matches unbeaten for the first time since they earned promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Shawcross, Huth and Begovic all put in sterling performances to keep Spurs at bay, much to their manager's delight.

Pulis said: "You have to put things into perspective. Some teams have a lot more than other people and our players deserve credit.

"Tottenham are on a different level to us. You look at what they have got, but if you've got good team spirit like we have got then you will have a chance against anybody."

Stoke's run has catapulted them up to ninth, just five points short of the top four, but Pulis is not getting carried away.

"We still need 14 or 15 points to stay up," the Welshman said.

"That will always be our priority - staying up.

"Then we'll try to get a little bit better and better."

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