"Tottenham last year played magnificent attacking football," Villas-Boas said. "We want to keep that exactly as it stands, to take it into the pitch, but training in a different way. We would like to be a team that has speed in possession and different combinations, a team that looks to the counterattack in a very aggressive way. We'll have to make sure we continue to do exactly that like we have in the past."
"We're trying to continue with the same system that Tottenham played most of the time last year. It's a system that benefits Rafa and [new signing Gylfi] Sigurdsson as the two players competing for that role behind the striker."
No major tactical reshuffle in terms of set formation. 4411 with added shine for the short term with a long term ambition to perhaps mould the team into a more traditional 433 that Villas-Boas has a preference for, shifting to a combative 4231 (two holding midfielders). Adaptive formations is something we're about to become accustomed to. The way the team shapes up when not in possession is equally pivotal for strengthening the basics, such as winning the ball back and organised defending when placed under pressure. In our case, hopefully plenty of hassle, pressure and quick feet to work it from box to box.
Really looking forward to see how quickly we mature. Our players will adapt comfortably I'm sure. We've got the confidence, we just need the intelligence to drive us forward, to know when to change gear and run over our opponents. More Death Race than Herbie goes bananas. We've displayed enough refined grit in the past couple of seasons to allow for further evolution.
I love the line: counterattack in a very aggressive way
Love the word 'aggressive'. Aggressive hints at 'ruthless' and 'punishing' football to complement the flair and fancy stuff. Have we been aggressive in recent years? On occasions sure, and in terms of individualistic mannerisms (i.e. Bale), yes (when not lost roaming through the middle) but aggressive can hardly be used as a signature to our weekly performances and it's not been evident when we've failed to penetrate deep defending from the opposition (although guile is the prefered choice when breaking down a team that parks the bus - you can hardly counter attack a wall that doesn't move). We are definitely more bullish than we've ever been. We just need an edge to our game, that extra dimension which has yet to be fully tapped. Always felt our counter-attacking style specifically is better described (by myself with ample dramatics) as fast fluid elegance that can pack a punch rather than sheer brutality in finish. We need to be aggressive in tempo as well as the counter.
Brings me nicely onto the next blog article about intensity.