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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape