• Premier League

AVB aware of derby significance in battle for fourth

ESPN staff
November 15, 2012

Andre Villas-Boas has joked that Daniel Levy is putting him under pressure to win Saturday's North London derby against Arsenal, but also insisted he is well aware of the importance of fixture beyond his team's form.

Tottenham go into the match at Arsenal having lost three of the last four, and the Portuguese manager has said he knows he dare not lose this one.

"[Mr Levy] keeps on mentioning it! But it's normal," Villas-Boas said. "We really have to embrace it because it's part of the great English culture of this game. Against Arsenal, for both teams, it means a lot. The meaning of it is quite special and all of us embrace it.

"I have been getting it for the last two weeks. People have been speaking about it quite often, the staff and the chairman, so you understand the importance of it. This is a game where passion is extremely high. It represents three points but it means more.

"Both teams are not where they have to be... but both have shown they can do better. It's very early in the league. Last year we were a little bit better by this stage. The worst period came towards the end of the season so it's too much time."

Villas-Boas is also confident that Tottenham can finish ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League for the first time since 1994-95.

"We have to," he added. "It's obvious that [Manchester] United, Man City and Chelsea are into a big running towards the title. We want to be able to bring one of those spots nearer to us but it's difficult.

"They have other resources but we are looking at trying to shorten the gap and not let it grow. To play for that fourth spot, Champions League qualification, I think it's difficult bearing in mind the amount of competition that you have to beat."

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