independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Villas-Boas wants win over Arsenal

Andre Villas-Boas is confident Tottenham can be the top team in North London

Andre Villas-Boas has no doubt that his Tottenham team can end 18 years of hurt by finishing above Arsenal this season.

Spurs have not finished above their bitter rivals in the Barclays Premier League since Gerry Francis was in charge of the club in the 1994-95 season but with Arsenal currently struggling in the league, Villas-Boas sees no reason why this cannot be the year where the balance of power in north London finally shifts.

"We have to (finish above Arsenal)," Villas-Boas told a press conference. "It is possible to bridge the gap. We are looking at trying to shorten the gap and not letting it grow."

He added: "To play for fourth spot is difficult bearing in mind the competition you have to overcome. It's possible to bridge it. Arsenal have won trophies in recent times and they have qualified for the Champions League more often. That is where we want to be in the future. We're getting nearer."

Villas-Boas got his first taste of a London derby last season when his Chelsea team faced QPR and Fulham.

But the narrow gap between the two teams in terms of their league position - Spurs are one point and one position above Arsenal, who are in eighth - and the quality of their respective squads makes this a much more meaningful fixture.

Last season Spurs and Arsenal served up one of the most memorable north London derbies in history when the Gunners fell 2-0 behind at the Emirates Stadium before staging a remarkable comeback that saw them emerge with a 5-2 victory.

Villas-Boas has been left in no doubt as to the importance of the fixture.

"I have been getting it for the last two weeks, people have been speaking about it quite often - the staff, the fans and the chairman," the 35-year-old said. "This is a game where passion is very high, it's a game that represents more than three points because of the history of north London derbies.

"The chairman keeps on mentioning it. I think it's normal. You really have to embrace it because it's part of the greater culture of the English game. You can't wear red at this training ground."

Press Association

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