Stoke defence this weekend.

The match at White Hart Lane sees the Potters travel south to defend an unbeaten run of seven games, which has thus far been enough to secure a mid-table position in the Premier League.

The Stoke defence has managed to keep four clean sheets during their seven game unbeaten streak, leaving Villas-Boas full of praise for their defensive acuity.

“They have been having an amazing year among the best defences in Europe so it will certainly be a very hard game,” said AVB.

“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.”

AVB then spared a few kind words for Tony Pulis and the job he’s done so far at the Britannia Stadium, noting, “Tony has in some ways transformed the fortunes of Stoke. They are a competitive team, a really hard team to beat and it’s not going to be easy for us.”

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