West Ham fans chant anti-semitic abuse during London derby (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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West Ham fans chant anti-semitic abuse during London derby against Tottenham Hotspur
Andre Villas-Boas said anti-Semitic and abusive chanting from West Ham fans should not mar his side’s 3-1 win over their London rivals.
Visiting fans were heard singing songs about Hitler and chanting in support of Lazio, days after a Tottenham fan was stabbed in Rome before Spurs’ Europa League clash with the Italian side.
Villas-Boas admitted he heard the chants, aimed at Tottenham's largely Jewish fan base, but said he did not want it to become the focus of the London derby.
He said: “It is difficult – we can interpret it in various ways but I prefer not to mar the performance with a situation like this. The animosity is between West Ham and Tottenham as long as it doesn’t reach stupidity, it is a great rivalry between two London clubs.
“It would be extremely unfair for me to mar the performance of the players but we understand that a couple of situations were horrible, although we can’t decipher the complete meaning of what they were singing.”
Two goals from Jermain Defoe either side of a Gareth Bale strike sealed three points for Tottenham who conceded a late consolation goal from Andy Carroll.
On his side’s first win in five Premier league outings, Villas Boas said: “It was a very good performance. It was extremely important for us to get back to winning ways, particularly against a team doing well and in a London derby. We don’t jump a lot in terms of the table but we certainly narrow the gap. Hopefully we can continue this run of form into the next fixtures.”
Defoe broke the deadlock before half time with a superb individual goal that saw him pick up the ball near the half way line before rounding three West Ham defenders and finishing low into the bottom corner.
On his striker’s performance, Villas-Boas said: “He’s an incredible striker – his moment of form is absolutely immense. He’s enjoying his football and at the moment we have all positive things to say about him.”
With Adebayor suspended, the Spurs boss was also full of praise for Clint Dempsey, who has endured a mixed spell since arriving at Spurs over the summer.
Villas-Boas said: “His performance today was outstanding and he’s been chasing that for quite some time. He played 90 minutes and he linked up the game extremely well for us and it was good to see him out there.”
Michael Dawson made a rare start for Tottenham under Andre Villas-Boas and his future at the club remains uncertain with the January transfer window approaching.
Villas-Boas said: “At the moment he’s not been playing as much as he wanted to because of the competition, it’s extremely difficult. He’s got great commitment and great desire for the club because he represents all the good values of a captain for this club. He’s been doing extremely well in training and this is a game that suits his capabilities and we needed this kind of leadership and qualities today – he was outstanding.”