Robert Vilahamn has ‘enormous respect’ for Aston Villa ahead of Saturday’s WSL clash

Speaking to the media on Friday, Tottenham Hotspur manager Robert Vilahamn stated that he is ‘very happy with the start’ his team has made, but is aware that ‘there’ll be tough times as well.’

Tottenham have got off to a fairly ideal start this season, with two wins from their opening three matches, and they’ll hope to continue their run of form against a struggling Aston Villa on Saturday

Vilahamn’s side sit fourth heading into this weekend – only one point off the league leaders, Manchester City.

However, the Spurs boss explained that his current focus is implementing his style of play and helping the team to continually develop. ‘They want to play this style, it’s not like I need to convince them,’ he added, ‘they want to do this and that’s a big thing. I want to do it for the club, that’s the main thing.’

‘We will have some setbacks soon but that’s how you develop, and you need those [setbacks] as well. I’m fine with that as long as we keep going,’ he said.

‘I’m happy with six points after three games because you need the points for the table, but that’s not the main thing in the beginning – it’s how we play, and how we try and play the Spurs way.’

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Although this is Vilahamn’s first season in the WSL, his confidence was on full display when discussing the level he wants to reach with this group.

‘We want to keep going with our style and make sure we get to the end, and for me, I want to get to the point where [opponents] see how we play and they just can’t handle it.’

However, Aston Villa will be hoping to redeem themselves on Saturday, having been defeated in every game so far this campaign. They currently sit just outside the relegation zone, with goal difference being the only separating factor between themselves and Lauren Smith’s Bristol City. 

Despite their subpar start, Robert Vilahamn didn’t hesitate to praise Carla Ward and her squad. 

‘They’ve had two tough games, and I think they have some talented players in the squad, so for me tomorrow it’s one of the toughest away games. I’d say even if they are near the bottom of the table, I have enormous respect for that coach and that team.’

‘It’s going to be a tough game and it’s also a good test for us to see if we can compete against them because they were in fifth place last year, so I have enormous respect for them.’

Whilst his Tottenham side do currently sit in a top four spot, Vilahamn’s acknowledgement of the traditional ‘top four’ is clear – in particular, the standard they set for other teams to aim for.

‘If you look at the top four, I think they are at another level, but I think that’s because they’ve been at the top level for a few years. I think the game tomorrow is to see if we are in it right now, or if we need to improve even more.’

‘They’re [Villa] going to be up there, I can guarantee that,’ he stated.

Spurs’ attack is led by Martha Thomas, who had made a good impression on her new manager by netting three goals in as many games since arriving at the club in the summer.

When asked about her potential impact throughout the campaign, Vilahamn said that ‘if you look at what we can bring to her now and for the long run, I think we can bring one of the absolute top strikers in this league if we can continue to work with her.’

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‘The main thing is she’s so good in training, and as a character and giving the other players some instructions as well.’

‘For me as a coach, it’s brilliant to have that kind of player who can help me and help the other players as well. I’m not sure how good she can be but I think she can bring even more stuff to this team.’

Robert Vilahamn’s Tottenham Hotspur travel to the Poundland Bescot Stadium on Saturday, 21 October. Kickoff for their Barclays Women’s Super League match against Aston Villa is scheduled for 12:30 BST.