ANDRE Villas-Boas tried to deflect attention away from the anti-Semitic chants that marred Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over West Ham.
Just four days after a Spurs fan was stabbed before Tottenham’s game against Lazio, West Ham fans aimed a flurry of deeply offensive chants towards the home support about the attack.
“Viva Lazio”, “Can we stab you every week” and the name of Lazio icon Paolo Di Canio were heard from the away end during yesterday’s game, which was settled by a brace from Jermain Defoe.
Hammers fans were also heard hissing - mimicking the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust - throughout the game and some Spurs fans reported on Twitter that Adolf Hitler’s name was chanted by the away support.
Given Spurs’ links with the Jewish community, and the anti-Semitic attack on Ashley Mills in midweek, yesterday’s chants from West Ham fans sparked outrage among the Tottenham faithful, who have been subjected to hissing from away fans before.
Villas-Boas and his opposite number Sam Allardyce refused to comment in detail about the chants - mainly because they said they did not hear them.
“I prefer not to mar the performance with a situation like this,” Villas-Boas said in his post-match press conference.
“You know the animosity there is between Tottenham and West Ham and as long as it doesn’t reach stupidity it is a great, great rivalry of two London clubs.
“It would be extremely unfair for me to mar the performance of the players but understanding that a couple of situations are avoidable but we can’t decipher the true meaning of what they were saying.”
Allardyce said he would not comment on the matter until he had fully heard what the away supporters sang during the game.
“I didn’t hear it,” the West Ham boss said. “I don’t hear what the fans say or do when I’m concentrating as a manager on a game of football.
“They shouldn’t be doing things like that, it is the least of my worries at the minute isn’t it. What do you want me to say? If I didn’t hear it I can’t condemn it can I?
“I will wait and look at it myself and make a comment once I have listened to what they have said.
“I don’t want to be a political animal, I’m here to talk about football and not what fans are saying and singing.”
The chants overshadowed Tottenham’s best home performance of the season.
Villas-Boas’ men went into the match on the back of three straight defeats but yesterday they oozed confidence and were brutally clinical up front against a weak West Ham side.