Andre Villas-Boas targets games against closest rivals as Tottenham aim to qualify for Champions League

Spurs lost to Fulham at the weekend in what was a major blow to their top four ambitions

Andre Villas-Boas remains confident of guiding Tottenham to Champions League qualification despite yesterday's damaging 1-0 defeat to Fulham.

Spurs dropped to fourth in the Barclays Premier League thanks to a Dimitar Berbatov strike which rounded off a poor week for the north London club.

Tottenham, who lost to Liverpool last Sunday and Inter Milan on Thursday, are four points ahead of Arsenal, who have a match in hand, against Everton next month.

Spurs threw away Champions League qualification last term thanks to a woeful run in the final quarter, but Villas-Boas is adamant that will not be the case this time around.

The Portuguese claims that so long as Spurs pick up good results against rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton in the run-in, then they will qualify for Europe's top club competition.

"The situation has shifted, it has become difficult," the Tottenham manager said.

"We have the direct games against Everton and Chelsea which can enable us to get back to third hopefully, or bring Man City closer to us.

"The margin over Arsenal is what we want to build and we have to get the most amount of points from the next games.

"After the international break we have to get back to business and do our job against Swansea and try to collect the points there to put us in a more comfortable position by the time we play Man City."

Tottenham offered little yesterday to suggest Villas-Boas would be right. Their passing was sloppy, their defence shaky, and Cottagers goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was only called into action late in the second half.

Fulham manager Martin Jol, who tasted victory at White Hart Lane for the first time since he was sacked from the north London club in 2007, hailed Berbatov after the game.

The Bulgarian has now racked up 10 goals this season, and he was so confident that he would secure a shock victory for the west London club that he told his manager he would do so before the match.

Jol said: "Before the game you hope for a point... but Berbatov came to me and promised me... He said: 'you have to trust me'.

"I thought he was joking. But he said it before the match against Stoke (where he scored the winner) and he is a wonderful player.

"It was one of the best wins ever."

Tottenham forward Gareth Bale, meanwhile, took a knock to his right ankle but should be fit for international duty with Wales this week.

Villas-Boas has ruled Aaron Lennon (groin and hamstring) and Michael Dawson (hamstring) out of England's double-header with San Marino and Montenegro, though.

PA

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel