Last Updated: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 13:36
Andre Villas-Boas has warned his strikers they will have to be at the top of their game against Stoke.
Stoke are big underdogs for the Barclays Premier League clash at White Hart Lane despite the fact they travel to London on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run.
Villas-Boas raised a few eyebrows when he described the Potters defence as "among the best in Europe", but as per usual, it turns out the Spurs boss has done his research.
Of the top seven leagues in Europe, only seven teams - Paris St Germain, St Etienne, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Malaga, Benfica and Porto - have a better defensive record than Stoke this season. Excellent performances from the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth and Asmir Begovic mean Stoke's record of conceding 13 goals in 17 games is better than that of European heavyweights Real Madrid, Barcelona and Ajax, not to mention the rest of the Barclays Premier League.
Although their footballing mantras could not be further apart, Villas-Boas has nothing but the utmost respect for the solid unit Pulis has built at the Britannia Stadium.
"They have been having an amazing year among the best defences in Europe so it will certainly be a very hard game," Villas-Boas said.
"They are a good, solid, organised team and they have a manager who has a specific philosophy that they have been very successful with.
"They believe in their football and they believe in what they do.
"Aesthetics can differ. You can interpret their game in one way and I can do it in another, but all of us respect it - because it is successful for them.
"They've been extremely successful in the Premier League so I compliment them for that."
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