Andre Villas-Boas hailed the performance of under-pressure captain John Terry after his last-gasp intervention prevented Chelsea from losing to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The Chelsea skipper learned on Thursday he will be charged by the Criminal Prosecution Service for alleged racist comments he made towards Anton Ferdinand during the west London derby at QPR in October.
"His performances, commitment and concentration have increased since the incident and he anticipated the situation at the end there. It was a big opportunity for Tottenham," Villas-Boas said.
Despite getting a barracking from the home support throughout the match, the defender put in a solid display and made a crucial intervention to deny Emmanuel Adebayor's goal-bound effort at the death.
Unmarked, the Tottenham striker latched on to Gareth Bale's ball just inside the box, but Terry flung himself at the ball to avert what would have been a harsh defeat on the visitors as the match ended 1-1, with Daniel Sturridge cancelling out Adebayor's opener.
The Chelsea boss has given his unequivocal support to Terry, who has vowed to clear his name, ever since the race row erupted two months ago. He was quick to shower praise on the 31-year-old while insisting he never had any doubts about putting him in the starting XI in such a hostile atmosphere as Thursday's derby.
Villas-Boas added: "His quality and talent are never in doubt. He's completely focused to the cause of this football club."
Villas-Boas' men would have leapfrogged Tottenham in to third with a win, but considering the hosts were on a run of one defeat in their previous 13 games, the Portuguese was pleased with his team's display. He said: "The result really doesn't matter. The performance was outstanding. If a ball had gone into our net in the last minute, I would have left satisfied.
"We didn't lose two points. Coming here with Tottenham on the run they're on, with the form they're showing in the league, to get a point is excellent. If you had said at the beginning of December that we'd go through these games with two wins and two draws, I'd have taken it running into the home fixtures. Our second half was brilliant. For us to impose ourselves as we did is extremely gratifying."
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was disappointed to see his team lose momentum after such a strong start. "We dominated that first 20 minutes or so, then they scored against the run of play, but a point is a point," the 64-year-old said. "It got difficult in the second half. Rafa did a hamstring again and we had no one to play on the right comfortably."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer