STRIKER Emmanuel Adebayor has warned that Tottenham will not finish in the top four if they repeat the kind of poor display which saw them limp to victory over Sunderland yesterday.
Spurs moved in to third place in the Barclays Premier League after returning to winning ways with a nervy 1-0 win over the Black Cats at White Hart Lane.
Spurs lacked the vibrancy and attacking flair which they have displayed in abundance during their recent 11-match unbeaten run, and had it not been for a good performance from Brad Friedel in goal, the Black Cats would have come away with at least a point.
The first-half withdrawal of Aaron Lennon with a suspected hamstring tear, and the absence of Gareth Bale due to a sprained ankle, were big factors in the sub-par display from Harry Redknapp's team, who must improve if they are to beat Chelsea on Thursday to move five points clear of the Blues with a match in hand.
"If we want to be in the top four we have to play better than we did against Sunderland," Adebayor told Spurs TV Online.
"I don't know happened in the first half. I don't really want to know. I'm just glad that the game is over.
"We felt heavy on the pitch and we didn't have any solution. It was tough but to be champions that's what it takes.
"It's the kind of game that, regardless of what happened, we were just pleased to get the three points."
Claims that Tottenham are ready to win their first league in 51 years have been mocked in some quarters, but Redknapp's men will have a chance to prove their title credentials in Thursday's important derby at White Hart Lane.
Midfielder Sandro, who is likely to start against Andre Villas-Boas' men, thinks a win over their west London rivals will silence those doubters and give the Spurs dressing room the belief that they can go all the way this year.
He said: "We can make a statement if we win against Chelsea. It'll be a very difficult game but we are good at home because the support helps us.
"It will give us the belief that we can win the league. If we win, it will show that we are going up the table again.
"This team can win the title, why not? Every player we have here is good. We have a really strong squad."
Yesterday's game was Sandro's first league start at White Hart Lane in almost three months.
The Brazilian has missed most of this season with knee and groin injuries, but is now hopeful that his fitness problems are behind him.
"I was very happy to play. It was frustrating being injured, but it's in the past now. It's finished. I'm working hard now so hopefully I will be able to play more games," he said.
Stamford Bridge holds fond memories for Sandro as that is the ground where he scored his first Spurs goal - a blistering 30-yard half volley.
"That goal was my favourite Tottenham memory and I will try to score again," said the midfielder, who is also looking forward to lining up against Brazil team-mate David Luiz.
"I am close to David Luiz. I am friends with him off the pitch. We go out sometimes together. We're close off the pitch, but not on it," he added.
Lennon will undergo a scan on his hamstring injury today, and Redknapp conceded yesterday that the winger is likely to be out for "weeks".
Bale will be assessed over the next few days before a decision is taken on whether he will play against Chelsea, while Jermain Defoe, who missed yesterday's game with a hamstring problem, should be fit.