Andre Villas-Boas confident 'very, very motivated' Wigan can upset Arsenal
The Tottenham manager is keeping his fingers crossed that the Gunners drop points
Monday 13 May 2013
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas is backing Wigan to pull off another shock win over Arsenal tomorrow night and boost his own side's hopes of hanging on to a Champions League qualifying place.
Emmanuel Adebayor's late winner at Stoke yesterday lifted Spurs back over their north London rivals into fourth place in the Barclays Premier League table, but the Gunners will regain pole position with a win at the Emirates.
But with the newly-crowned FA Cup winners heading to London in the knowledge they need another unlikely success to stand any chance of staying in the top flight, Villas-Boas expects Roberto Martinez's men to go for broke.
Villas-Boas said: "Obviously there is great emotion and motivation going through the Wigan players' heads at the moment, and we saw the message from Dave Whelan saying they are absolutely focused.
"I expect them to give them a hard game because the objectives are there for both teams. Arsenal are a very experienced side, but Wigan are very, very motivated to save themselves."
A win for Arsenal would take them back above Tottenham with one game to play - the Gunners go to now-safe Newcastle on the final day while Spurs face Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
And while Arsenal have to remain favourites to clinch fourth spot, Villas-Boas said: "For us the objective was to take this into the last game of the season and that is what we will do."
Villas-Boas singled out Clint Dempsey for helping to keep Spurs' Champions League dream alive after his long-range equaliser following Steven Nzonzi's early strike, before he set up Adebayor's late winner.
Dempsey has gained something of a reputation for coming up with crucial strikes and the American admitted he would like to score more after notching what was his seventh of the season at the Britannia Stadium.
Dempsey told Spurs TV: "I haven't scored as many goals as I did last year but I'm pleased that they're important ones. Hopefully I can keep scoring important goals that also get my goal tally up.
"It keeps our dream alive that in the last game we will get the right result, and then maybe with a little bit of luck and the way the results go in the Arsenal games we might have a chance."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis is urging his players to give it one last push as they prepare to finish their season with a trip to Southampton next Sunday.
Despite having secured survival Pulis emerged from Sunday's showdown in a downbeat mood having lost midfielder Charlie Adam in the 47th minute for a second bookable offence.
Pulis said: "I'm still a little down, but we will do our best (at Southampton). We have played well away from home this season but you mustn't underestimate them. They've got some great players."
Pulis said the club could take plenty of positives out of the campaign and look forward to a future shaped by the club's academy system, which was granted Grade A status at the start of the year.
He added: "The great thing is the club has invested off the pitch as well as on the pitch to make sure that the future of the club is bright.
"You always need to win games to stay in the Premier League, but the academy over the next few years will produce the players we need to push this football club on."
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