LONDON: Suddenly – and not because Tromso are looming on the Europa League horizon –  the credibility of Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is on the line.

Not among the squad though some of his players baulked at hearing him tell the media they should “be ashamed” of themselves after Sunday’s horror show of a 6-0 beating at Manchester City. Rather, chairman Daniel Levy is reported to be growing restless with the failure to  secure a place in the top four despite the huge summer expenditure of the £86m Gareth Bale fee.

Villas-Boas, a wonder-worker at Porto who was then sacked after half a season with Chelsea, was appointed in succession to Harry Redknapp in the summer of last year and very nearly brought Spurs back into the Champions League.

He – and Spurs – started the season well but as the team’s momentum stalled so he turned on supporters for failing to get behind the team during an unimpressive 1-0 home win over Hull. Villas-Boas then courted further controversy with his muddled handling
of the Hugo Lloris concussion incident against Everton.

On Sunday, he upset the players with his comments at Eastlands after a defeat which doubled the number of goals Tottenham had conceded this season. Tottenham slipped down the table to ninth, albeit only two points from City in fourth but they have not scored a league goal since Roberto Soldado’s penalty beat Hull last month.

Villas-Boas’s use of some of his new players has been questioned as well as a tactical set-up which has left Soldado, the £26m summer arrival from Valencia, appearing lost and forlorn at the apex of attack. Of his four league goals, three have come from penalties.

It may be unfair to load so much on one game so early into the season but, to shrug off the doubters, Villas-Boas needs a very differnt sort of performance at White Hart Lane on Sunday . . . at home to Manchester United.