Football - Villas-boas demands spurs maintain momentum

Andre Villas-Boas has called on Tottenham to open up a gap on their rivals so that they do not slip away and miss out on Champions League football again.

PA Sport

Tottenham travel to Sunderland tomorrow looking to cement their place in the top four after an inconsistent first half of the season under their Portuguese manager.

Despite being fourth in the table, Spurs have failed to show the consistency they exhibited last season. The Londoners have squandered nine points by conceding late goals and their season has been characterised by often nervy and unconvincing home displays.

Wary that just five points separate Tottenham from eighth-place Stoke, Villas-Boas knows his team must go on a winning run to separate themselves from the likes of Everton, Arsenal and West Brom, who lurk just below them.

Although Chelsea's victory in Munich proved to be the final nail in Tottenham's Champions League dream, they could have secured qualification much earlier had they not fallen away in the second half of last season under Harry Redknapp and Villas-Boas does not want a repeat this time around.

"At the moment everyone is packed together, which is very dangerous," the Tottenham manager said. "What we want to do is have a stronger second half to the season than last year.

"We have to continue our progress to hopefully open a gap between us and the rest of the teams that sit near the top.

"Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will compete for the title between them.

"For the top four Everton are there, Liverpool will come back strongly definitely and there is always a surprise team - last year it was Newcastle, this year it is West Brom. What you want is to finally settle into the top four, opening up some kind of gap if possible."

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