Andre Villas-Boas has admitted that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has spelt out in painstaking detail the significance of today's north London derby, as the Portuguese seeks to win over his detractors with victory over Arsenal this lunchtime.
"What is quite a common pattern this week is that he has kept on mentioning the game, the kick-off time, what are we going to do, what is going to happen," Villas-Boas said. "Results from the past, results where we have won - there are memories all over the place and you have to respect that."
At Chelsea, Villas-Boas never encountered a rivalry as intense as the one that divides the Seven Sisters Road, and during his 13 months at Porto he was denied any local adversaries by the decline of neighbours Boavista. The tension of today's confrontation at the Emirates marks a fresh experience for the 35 year-old. "I had it a little bit last year with Chelsea v Fulham, but I know that for the fans, this is very, very important," Villas-Boas acknowledged. "It's something that I respect and I like the emotions and the buzz. It makes you more focused and determined to get things right."
Villas-Boas disclosed that he had watched video footage of Arsenal's 5-2 win in February as part of his preparations. "It was difficult," he reflected. "At 2-0 you thought the game was going Tottenham's way. But when Arsenal levelled they felt it was within them to turn it around. This is a game powered by emotion and motivation. It is a game where you cannot sleep. You have to be aware all the time"
The pressure on the young manager to achieve a positive result, after league defeats by Wigan and Manchester City, has never been greater. Trying to shrug off the criticism, he said: "You can only dictate what you can achieve at the end of the season. We have to be given the chance."
He could sympathise with the strain that Arsene Wenger has suffered during
Arsenal's indifferent start.
Villas-Boas, who intends to play striker Emmanuel Adebayor against his former club, said Tottenham's priority would be to exploit the defensive vulnerabilities that Arsenal had shown in last week's 3-3 draw with Fulham.