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AVB blasts Uefa over Caulker ban but expects punishment for West Ham fans over sick chants

Steven Caulker in action for England. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Steven Caulker in action for England. Photo: Joe Giddens/EMPICS

Saturday, December 15, 2012
8:49 AM

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hit out at Uefa over their treatment of Steven Caulker before launching another attack on the organisation for their lenient punishment of the Serbian FA.

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Uefa yesterday banned Caulker for England Under-21’s upcoming games against Italy and Norway because of the role he played in the post-match brawl that followed the Young Lions’ 2-0 victory in Serbia two months ago.

The decision to order Serbia to play their next Under-21 international behind closed doors following racist chanting and violence towards the England players was welcomed, but the £65,000 fine also handed out to the Serbian FA - some £15,000 less than was given to Nicklas Bendtner for revealing a sponsor’s logo on his underpants at Euro 2012 - was widely criticised.

Villas-Boas’ players have been subjected to controversial chanting from the terraces on two other occasions this term - twice against Lazio and again during last month’s Premier League win over West Ham.

The Spurs boss is confident West Ham’s fans will be punished for their apparent anti-Semitic chanting at White Hart Lane, saying: “I think further action will be taken. Most of the managers have agreed and showed disappointment towards what was voiced by the West Ham fans.”

However, he feels UEFA have let themselves down by not issuing the Serbian FA with a bigger fine.

He said: “Words are not really enough. I keep saying the same - actions are decisive.

“I am not sure if Uefa once again sets a good example. This has happened before in Uefa fixtures. First in the Under-21 game and another one in the Lazio game. So we are waiting for a little bit more, that’s how we feel about the situation.

“[The fine] doesn’t really affect [the Serbian FA] I think.

“As for Steven, I spoke to the player and he is obviously very disappointed. It is difficult to take after I heard from my players - from Danny [Rose], from Steven, from Adam Smith, Andros Townsend - from the situation they went through to see that the outcome is this one.”

Despite the storm whipped up by Uefa’s punishments over the last 24 hours, Villas-Boas is sure Caulker will be in the right frame of mind to line up against Swansea on Sunday.

The 20-year-old has become a key player at Spurs this season, partly thanks to his exposure to top-flight first-team football with the Welsh club last season.

“He has been amazing, the way he has made the step up from Swansea to Tottenham and the way he has been doing so well and playing so much at such a young age,” Villas-Boas said.

“He is a major player. The last couple of days will not really affect it. Although he is young he is mature enough to differentiate the things.

“He is disappointed (with the suspension). The FA will probably appeal, I think.”

The Spurs boss revealed good news from the treatment room today regarding the fitness of Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Michael Dawson and Gareth Bale ahead of the visit of Swansea.

Parker, who has not played since Euro 2012 due to an Achilles injury, is likely to be on the bench for Sunday’s game, as is Assou-Ekotto, who has been out for three months with a knee injury.

Villas-Boas also said Dawson has a good chance of playing following a hamstring-injury layoff, but conceded it was “very unlikely” Bale would play against the Swans.

Bale has been absent since suffering a hamstring injury against Fulham two weeks ago. In that match the winger earned his fourth yellow card of the calendar year for simulation, much to the frustration of the winger and his manager.

Villas-Boas reckons Bale’s tag as a diver is unfair, and he said as much to referee Andre Marriner when he visited the club’s training ground last Tuesday in a pre-planned visit.

“We received the visit of the referee this past week,” Villas-Boas said.

“Gareth and I spoke with the referee about this situation. It wasn’t big on the agenda, but it was a useful conversation.

“It’s a tag that if he has gained it is unfair. But it doesn’t bother him in any way shape or form.”

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