Andre Villas-Boas warns Tottenham against negativity after draw with Everton
Spurs came from behind to draw 2-2 at the weekend
Monday 08 April 2013
Andre Villas-Boas has told Tottenham they must not allow thoughts of last year's end-of-season collapse to enter their minds after losing the initiative in the battle for Champions League qualification.
Only an 87th-minute strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson saved Tottenham's skin as they had to settle for a point in yesterday's 2-2 stalemate with Everton at White Hart Lane.
The result means Spurs' destiny is no longer in their hands. They are now fourth in the table and should Arsenal win their game in hand against Everton on April 16, they will replace their bitter rivals in the top four with just six matches left.
Spurs have won just one game in their last six matches - a worrying sequence that has drawn comparisons with the club's dramatic collapse last term, when they won only five of their last 13.
Spurs paid a big price for that run as it cost them a place in the Champions League, and Villas-Boas does not want a repeat performance this season.
"Arsenal feel their belief is because they finish seasons very strongly and that belief helps them," the Spurs boss said.
"We don't look at ghosts in the past. We try to do our job properly. We want to win games.
"I think it could go down to the wire. It depends how many points we can get to the end of the season.
"At least with this break we can focus completely on the Basle game, and then we can recover for the Man City game, hopefully, with Bale, Lennon and Defoe. It depends how they react to treatment."
This was the first time that Spurs had not started with either Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale in their XI since November 2009.
The success they have achieved ever since has been based on the pace, delivery and goals of both players and Tottenham felt their absence strongly yesterday.
Sigurdsson provided the crucial equaliser and Lewis Holtby offered energy, but neither of the two, nor the returning Clint Dempsey, threatened Tim Howard for much of the game.
A tense atmosphere did not help matters, either, with the home fans all too aware of the importance of the fixture to the club's Champions League dreams.
"I don't think we relaxed," the Spurs boss added.
"You give Everton a small amount of space and they punish you.
"It was an entertaining game of football.
"I think it was a good performance by the team, individually and collectively, although it was not the result that we wanted."
Everton performed admirably. Phil Jagielka cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor's first-minute opener and Kevin Mirallas scored a superb goal to put the Toffees 2-1 ahead.
But Sigurdsson's equaliser means Everton are now six points off Spurs, leaving manager David Moyes pessimistic about his team's chances of Champions League qualification.
He said: "We're playing a good team and we've taken four points from Spurs this season.
"It's not a bad performance, but does it help us? Probably not.
"We're hanging in there. I knew if we won we could get right in the mix.
"I'm pleased with a point because Spurs played well today. I thought we did as well, in patches.
"In truth, maybe we should have just about nicked it at the end."
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