FOOTBALL: AVB -- Hoping for Spurs' harmony and success
ANDRE Villas-Boas succumbed to player power during his ill-fated stint at manager of Chelsea. Now in charge of Tottenham, he faces a diplomatic balancing act as he tries to keep two of his international goalkeepers happy.
New recruit Hugo Lloris reportedly "didn't appreciate" remarks from the Portuguese boss that Spurs' incumbent Brad Friedel was still number-one choice at White Hart Lane.
Lloris, 25, is captain of the France national side and moved from Lyon at the end of the August transfer window. 41-year-old Friedel -- a Spurs player since 2011 -- earned the last of his 82 international caps for USA seven years ago.
Villas-Boas insists that he's spoken to Lloris and there is no problem. But the lingering controversy once again raises questions about the youthful former Porto coach's man management skills whilst dealing with senior personnel.
Spurs' goalkeeping stocks now include STG12 million (RM60 million) recruit Lloris, Friedel, Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes.
With outfield players like Clint Dempsey, Moussa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson joining the club since last season, AVB can have no excuses if the London club fail to fire. A top-four finish is minimum requirement, considering the abundance of talent at his disposal.
A slow start is only to be expected as newcomers take time to gel. But if the Lilywhites are still struggling after a dozen games, AVB could become the first managerial casualty of the season if big-spending Mark Hughes hasn't already been shown the door across London at QPR.
Icelandic international Sigurdsson will be facing his former club and manager at the Madejski Stadium. It was his penalty at Liverpool in a 2010 FA Cup tie that inspired Reading to a shock victory and earned caretaker boss Brian McDermott a full-time position.
Like Spurs, Reading are looking for their first league victory of the season -- after drawing with Stoke and losing to Chelsea thus far.
I expect the visitors to get all three points in Berkshire to ease some of the pressure on their 34-year-old boss.
* Watch Reading v Spurs on BPL Sunday from 10pm on Astro SuperSport 3/HD (817/831) & follow The Football Fever Podcast each week on www.stadiumastro.com. Twitter: JasonDasey