Tottenham Hotspur manager Robert Vilahamn believes his side will be a ‘good team’ but it will take time in the Women’s Super League.

Tottenham lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in the WSL to see them drift three points behind Liverpool in fifth. The club underwent an impressive transformation in the summer when Vilahamn joined — and the atmosphere around the club is full of positivity despite the defeat at Brisbane Road.

The defeat to Aston Villa, which came due to a first-half strike from Adriana Leon and a stunning second-half goal from Jordan Nobbs, was Spurs’ first defeat to a non ‘Big Four’ side.

Despite this, Vilahamn is still confident Spurs are on the right track. 

“I’m patient. I know we’re going to be a good team, but it takes time,” he stated.

A ‘tough defeat’ for Tottenham

Tottenham struggled to ever gain control of the match against Carla Ward’s side. The midfield duo of Kit Graham and Eveliina Summanen was overrun by Aston Villa’s midfield trio — and it showed throughout the first half. 

Vilahamn believes it was a tough defeat for Spurs, but insists they tried everything.

“Tough defeat. Aston Villa are better than us in the first half. We got it to 1-1, which was really nice because I didn’t think we got up to the right level. In the second half, I thought we were much better and had the momentum and tried to push them down. Then they scored a good goal in a bad moment for us. We tried to do everything we could. We are where we are right now,” he stated.

“When you lose, you need to find good moments you can use and bad moments you need to develop. That set-piece was something we were responsible for and it was a beautiful set-piece. It was a good cross and a beautiful header.”

It leaves Tottenham in the middle of the battle to finish fifth in the WSL and Spurs will do everything in their power to finish strongly according to the Swede.

“Now we know where we are. We are around sixth place. We fight against Aston Villa, Liverpool and Leicester - those teams - and we will make sure we take steps to be better than them. Right now, it’s very even between us and them.

"We need to take steps to become better in this league. We still had moments in this game where we showed we can be a good team, but we need to be consistently good for 90 minutes to beat Aston Villa, he said.

  • “They are still trying to do their best”

Martha Thomas and Bethany England are yet to combine for a goal in the WSL season. England returned from injury at the start of December, yet she is also yet to score in the league. 

Their partnership has lacked fluidity and communication in recent matches, leaving Tottenham with a disjointed attack.

However, despite their struggles, Vilahamn is still upbeat about their potential.

“It’s always a relationship and how we can make sure the team is working. They do some really good stuff in the game and - some games - they don’t nail it. They still fight and compete,” he stated. 

“It’s hard to say they’re not scoring yet because they’re both great goalscorers. Of course, we need to look at how we get more goal-scoring chances. That’s not always up to them. It’s up to how we play, how we get the crosses in and taking the right decisions.

"I still think they are trying to do their best, trying to get into the box and trying to get to chances, but we are not finding the keys to reach there. It’s part of the team, not just those two.”

Alongside the struggles of Thomas and England, Spurs lacked midfield control. Vilahamn chose to play Kit Graham alongside Eveliina Summanen instead of the ever-present Olga Ahtinen. He explained that decision to VAVEL post-match.

“I think Kit Graham is very good on the ball to break lines, to play balls through the lines and very good to be brave on the ball. I think, if you look at today, she was one of the best players on the pitch. It was a good choice to play her,” he said.

“Olga [Ahtinen] came in with energy as well, but we want Kit [Graham] to break lines and play through-balls. She can take shots. She didn’t score today but she created chances a few chances. She’s a very good footballer.”

Tottenham face Arsenal after the international break and Vilahamn believes Spurs can upset the apple cart again.

"We can [beat them]. We had a good cup game against them and then we beat them. They won the other day and they are a very good team, so I know no one expects us to win again, but we know how to beat them and we will make sure we have a good plan to do it again," he told VAVEL.