Jol dismisses hopes of Spurs toppling Arsenal

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The Independent Football

Despite Tottenham's fine start to the season and Arsenal's faltering form, the Spurs coach Martin Jol still believes the Gunners will be above his club at the end of the season.

"If we finish above Arsenal at the end of the season we will have done very well," Jol said. "But I still think the big four clubs will be in the top four spots at the end of the season."

Jol does however feel that Tottenham's charge up the table has won back the fans' trust. Spurs have made their best start to the league campaign since 1990, claiming fourth place in the table with a run of three straight victories moving them above Arsenal.

Their form has given supporters hope that decades of underachievement at White Hart Lane are at an end. Jol, however, insists there is still much work to be done. "The biggest thing at the club - and I've told the players this - is that there's always hope. You can't have 36,000 fans turning up otherwise. The players have converted that hope and trust. We've come through a difficult sequence of games in an excellent position.

"There have been several firsts for us so far this season. This is the first time we've had 30 points at this stage of the season for 15 years, the goals against are really good and we've had the most clean sheets for a long time.

"We haven't actually done anything yet, but we're doing well. We've improved a lot of things - 52 points was great last year and we want to improve on that. We are doing some very positive things and there's evidence we're moving in the right direction."

One of the results that propelled Spurs into the Champions' League places was Monday night's 3-1 victory over Portsmouth at White Hart Lane.

Jol became embroiled in controversy after the match when Pompey midfielder Gary O'Neil claimed he was in referee Uriah Rennie's dressing room at half-time.

O'Neil's comments are being investigated by the Football Association and Jol said: "I've never done anything like that in my career, so I don't know where the suggestion came from. I don't know why the player said it. Maybe it was just something he said to try to motivate his team-mates at half-time.

"I can only say it didn't happen and the FA know that. Something like this is totally out of character and for me this issue isn't important."

Spurs travel to Middlesbrough tomorrow knowing victory would lift them into third place, but one player who is unlikely to be involved is the unsettled midfielder Sean Davis.

Davis has made just one appearance this season - in the humiliating Carling Cup defeat by Grimsby - and is seeking a January move.