• Premier League

Spurs' focus on Sunderland not Arsenal

ESPN staff
May 18, 2013

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted he would be focusing only on Sunderland and not what is happening at St James' Park when the final day of the Premier League season unfolds.

Spurs host the Black Cats at White Hart Lane while Arsenal travel north to play Newcastle in what could be the final twist in the race for a spot in next season's Champions League.

Tottenham sit just outside the top-four on 69 points, while their North London rivals are one point and one spot above on the ladder with a much greater goal difference.

It is an equation that demands nothing less than a Spurs win against Sunderland and a scenario that will demand all of Villas-Boas' attention.

However, the Portuguese coach will not be kept completely in the dark, relying on the White Hart Lane faithful to keep him informed of the current situation.

"Our job is to get the three points and get the tally that we want to achieve," Villas-Boas told the Sun. "What is happening on the other side we will know from the emotions coming from the crowd so it will be pretty easy to understand.

"But we won't do anything different, we just have to do our job."

However, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew threw a spanner in Tottenham's plans when he cheekily commented that he did not care if Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners on Sunday.

But Pardew, whose side avoided relegation by the finest of margins, was quick to back away from those statements and promised to send out a fighting Newcastle.

Villas-Boas though remained unfazed, believing that even if the club fails in its top-four aspirations, it will not be due to a submissive Newcastle side.

"(Pardew) can do whatever he wants," Villas-Boas said. "We expect a Newcastle side which is extremely competitive.

"Obviously their objectives have been achieved but everyone wants to finish the season on a high.

"We've had a couple of draws that put us in a different position than we were at that time, and Arsenal continued on their amazing run and Chelsea too.

"When you look back on the season you see where you lost points that could have proven decisive.

"Reflecting on the fine margin in between Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, I would say probably the Everton defeat was the real mark of the season.

"If we are able to make (the Champions League) in the first season it will be wonderful. If not, we're striving to achieve 72 points, which would be our highest in the Premier League. That will make us proud.

"In the last 10 or 15 years in the Premier League, apart from once or twice, that would be enough for you to get fourth or even third."

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