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Andre on Stoke test

Posted on 21 December 2012  - 16:53

Andre Villas-Boas knows Stoke will be a tough nut to crack on Saturday - describing their defence as 'one of the best in Europe'.

Andre on Stoke test

The Potters arrive at White Hart Lane for a 3pm kick-off on a run of seven matches unbeaten in the Premier League, having conceded just 13 goals in league action so far this season.

However, we go into the clash on a run of four wins in five and Andre insists 'the players will respond' to the challenge provided by Tony Pulis' men.

"It’s an extremely difficult game'" said Andre. "Stoke have one of the best defences in Europe. They have a solid organisation and the manager has a specific philosophy that they have been very successful with.

"In many ways, it has transformed the fortunes of Stoke, they are a competitive team, hard to beat.

"This won’t be an easy game for us. Fortunately enough, we play them with a week’s preparation and the players will be ready."

Andre has prepared the players for a completely different challenge from last week's encounter against Swansea, where the players' work in pressing and closing down disrupted Swansea's rhythm and played a huge part in our victory.

Now we face Stoke's more direct style. "It’s a different type of game," added Andre. "The problem with the pressing game this time is that if you don’t do it in the right manner, you end up defending inside your box with the balls they put in behind.

"They try to live off those second balls and it won’t be easy, we have to be ready for crosses early, for set-plays and for their directness.

"They have reached a level of consistency and you can see that Tony has implemented something and he has the respect of everyone. That helps and this season they have been repaid with a consistency of results."

Stoke kick-starts a busy festive period with games to follow at Villa on Boxing Day, Sunderland on December 29, Reading back at the Lane on New Year's Day and then Coventry in the FA Cup on January 5.

"It’s an important period and we hope to do well," said Andre. "We’ve some difficult games, especially the two away games, but we certainly believe in ourselves."