Tottenham are on the brink of joining the 'big clubs' predicts Andre Villas-Boas after victory over Arsenal

Spurs beat their north London rivals 2-1

Andre Villas-Boas warned Arsenal that they are in a “negative spiral”, after seeing his Tottenham Hotspur side open up a seven-point gap over their north London rivals on Sunday night.

Spurs are back in third and Arsenal are still fifth, but Villas-Boas was confident enough to acknowledge that his and Arsène Wenger's sides are moving in opposite directions.

"It's not a big margin yet for us to be completely safe," a delighted Villas-Boas said. "It can have a direct effect on their motivation, and on ours too. Particularly on them, because we are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence and they are in a negative spiral in terms of results. And to be out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult."

Last season Spurs were 10 points clear of Arsenal before losing 5-2 to them at the Emirates and eventually being overtaken and finishing fourth. Villas-Boas acknowledged last season's collapse. "Last year when Arsenal won to shorten the gap to seven points it felt that everything was too possible for Tottenham's qualification," he recalled, "and it shifted very, very quickly."

"At the moment we keep our feet on the ground, still some difficult games to play against big teams – Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City plus Everton – teams who have the same objectives as ours, so it hasn't finished yet. Everything is still possible and we just have to gather the most amount of points we can."

Villas-Boas was delighted with what was probably the most important win of his tenure as Tottenham manager. "It was extremely pleasing, there were some great, great individual performances," he said. "We have to mention everybody, but [Gylfi] Sigurdsson did ever so well, [Scott] Parker – great, great game for him, Benoît [Assou-Ekotto] is improving in form and confidence."

If Spurs are in the Champions League next year, Villas-Boas thinks they could be one of the biggest sides in England. "Everybody's ambition is to be there, the club could be propelled into a big club in England in the future," he said. "This club is taking massive steps in terms of investment in structures and players too.

"There is a great focus on trying to make this year the year we qualify for Champions League once again. Everybody is bonding together regarding our objective, the players have been absolutely outstanding, making it their objective. They make it public, they want to be in it, their desire has been tremendous in these recent games."

Wenger admitted his frustration after more defensive mistakes and a lack of attacking threat.

"It's very frustrating because we had a great attitude," Wenger said, "but we come out with no points because we were not efficient in the zones where it matters – at the front and at the back. But today it was a strange game to lose."

Arsenal are five points behind Chelsea and Wenger conceded that Champions League qualification will be difficult: "It's a massive challenge, massive. I said before the game we couldn't drop these points and I maintain that. I still think it's possible. We will fight for it. That is for sure.

Yet again Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down at half-time. "I cannot fault the attitude or the effort the team produced, the spirit they showed. But you give yourselves a mountain to climb, every time, in a game of that magnitude."

After reports in two newspapers of Middle Eastern interest in taking over Arsenal, Wenger denied any knowledge.

"I don't know anything about it," he said. "You are only vulnerable if you want to sell and you need money. So that doesn't concern me at all. That's down to the owners. Are they interested to sell? I do not know."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before