Tottenham Hotspur will begin life without Gareth Bale as they welcome Norwich City to White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham side (2-0-1) suffered a disappointing week ahead of the recent international break - losing 1-0 to neighbours and rivals Arsenal on the same day Bale's world-record transfer to Real Madrid was confirmed. However, with two wins on the board after the opening two games and with a host of new players at the club thanks to the transfer money from the summer sales, 'AVB' is confident that Spurs face a bright future.
"We lost a wonderful footballer that gave us so much last season and we wish him all the best," said Villas-Boas. "What we have to do is move on. We have evolved because we have invested a lot in young players and we want to develop a strong team to be among the elite of English football. That's what we strive for.
"Our objective is the same: it's Champions League qualification. I think this is the minimum requirement towards what we want to achieve. We don't have the experience to deal with the pressure of a team that plays for a title. We have never done it in recent years. We will compete, as usual, for the Champions League places, having failed that objective the season before, and we want to do better this season."
Norwich City (1-1-1) were given cause for concern during the international break when manager Chris Hughton was heavily linked with the Republic of Ireland job. However, in his pre-match press conference for the game against his former club, Hughton committed his future to the Canaries.
"I am extremely happy here," said Hughton, who was both a player and a coach at White Hart Lane. "We spent and invested more this summer than we ever have done. I have had support from the board here. I have a group of supporters who are fanatical and want this team to do well and I have the same challenges here as the supporters and the players have. I am incredibly happy here.
"There has been no official approach. We are a club I would like to think which is going in the right direction."
Tottenham have injury doubts over Aaron Lennon (ankle), while Etienne Capoue (ankle) is definitely out. Norwich have doubts over Ryan Bennett, (knee), Elliott Bennett (knee) and Gary Hooper (calf).
Both league games between these sides last season ended 1-1. Mousa Dembele scored on his debut in the draw at the Lane, only for Robert Snodgrass to equalise five minutes from time, while Bale's late strike cancelled out Wes Hoolahan's opener in the game at Carrow Road. The Canaries beat Spurs 2-1 in the League Cup fourth round last season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gareth Bale
- Tottenham Hotspur
- Norwich City
- Chris Hughton