Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, says Brad Friedel still has a big part to play this season despite dropping the American for the 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Aston Villa 0
Villas-Boas made the shock decision to drop Friedel and hand Hugo Lloris his Premier League debut, thus ending the 41 year old's record of 310 consecutive top-flight starts.
The Frenchman rose to the occasion quite well, with his only hiccup coming in the second half when Villa intercepted a Lloris pass which almost led to Christian Benteke grabbing an opener for the visitors.
Villas-Boas denied that the selection meant Lloris will now be his first-choice stopper for the rest of the campaign.
"No," the Spurs coach replied when asked whether Lloris was now his No 1. "We spoke among the staff this week about it and we thought it was logical to let Hugo come into a Premier League game because he can't just play in the Europa League.
"Brad obviously was disappointed with the decision but accepted it like the good professional he is."
Friedel almost single-handedly saved Tottenham from defeat against Norwich City last month and has barely put a foot wrong for Villas-Boas this term.
"Obviously the change was not based on performance because Brad has been immense for this football team," Villas-Boas said. "We respect that and we will surely look at that for the game against Chelsea. This was a chance to give Hugo a continuous run of games for Tottenham and the national team."
Tottenham played some of their most fluent football of the season and never looked like failing to win their fourth successive league game. Spurs failed to take the lead in the first half despite laying siege to the Villa goal, but went 2-0 up with two second-half goals within nine minutes.
First Jermain Defoe's shot flew in off the heel of Steven Caulker and Aaron Lennon then beat Brad Guzan after cutting in from the right flank. Spurs moved back up to fifth in the table with the win and Villas-Boas now has his sights set on ending Chelsea's unbeaten run in his next game.
"The ambition to be among the top teams we have is immense and it gives us a good opportunity," he said.
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