Robert Vilahamn: ‘Maybe 2025/26 can be the Champions League year’ for Tottenham

Robert Vilahamn spoke to the media at Hotspur Way on Thursday to preview Tottenham’s upcoming Barclays Women’s Super League fixture at home against Brighton.

In terms of new injury news, Vilahamn confirmed that both Martha Thomas and Drew Spence’s availability is uncertain for Sunday’s game after slight knocks against Manchester United – while Celin Bizet would definitely be out after injuring her foot in the game. The trio are expected to be back in full training next week.

Sunday provided an Adobe Women’s FA Cup final preview as the Lilywhites took on Manchester United, and despite a vast improvement from the 4-0 loss earlier this season, they left disappointed after a 92nd-minute Maya Le-Tissier equaliser, missing out on an important win. Vilahamn wanted to focus on the signs of improvement from this game however, and spoke on what his side have taken from this fixture.

‘I think we were very disappointed after the game of course, not just after the goal but in the second half we were very low and didn’t nail the press and we couldn’t have the build-up we wanted to have. When you come back to the training ground realising you could have had three points but still got one point away against Manchester United, you realise it’s quite a good result,’ he expressed.

‘We lost the other game 4-0 so there’s a good step there, we’re realising we can compete against big teams and it’s nice to know before the final that we can both dictate parts of the game, but also that we need to make sure we can defend some part of the game.’

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After reaching the heights of an Adobe Women’s FA Cup final and remaining on course to potentially achieve the club’s highest ever WSL points total, the sky is seemingly the limit for a young side that has plenty of room to progress.

The obvious next step would be breaking the glass ceiling and qualifying for the UEFA Women’s Champions League. The prospect of European qualification is something that Vilahamn did not dismiss, but insisted that was not the priority for the club.

‘When they signed me and we discussed the years that I would be here, the first thing we knew is that we can’t just go for the Champions League in the first year, we just need to make sure we built a good ground to stand on and play with an identity,’ he explained.

‘We are now in the top six and play good football, we compete against the top teams, but on the other hand, there is a big gap between the top four. We have closed that gap, but they will continue to improve. We will try to do it but we’re also not stressed about it, it’s more important to close the gap even more so maybe the third year can be the Champions League year.’

Moving onto this Sunday’s game, Brighton was Vilahamn’s first away victory in the WSL and he has taken the team from strength to strength since then. He gave his perspective on his side’s growth this season, and how they will prepare for this game.

‘That was one of the first games of the season and nobody expected us to win that game. We have taken steps and brought in new players during the Christmas window, I kind of hope people think that we are the favourites for this game as I want to be a team that people see as a top team. I have enormous respect for Brighton and they have some great players.’

‘The main thing while focusing on an opponent is how do they play, do they press high, how should we press their build-up, what are their strengths? It’s not so much about who’s playing, and I think Brighton have a very big squad, so we want to focus on how we want to play and how we can hurt their way of playing.’