Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas desperate for Arsenal to slip up in race for top-four

Spurs need their rival to drop points

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas believes his side still stand every chance of claiming a place in next season's UEFA Champions League after their dramatic late 2-1 win over 10-man Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Emmanuel Adebayor struck three minutes from time to snatch the three points that lifted Spurs above north London rivals Arsenal, who play their game in hand at home to relegation-haunted Wigan on Tuesday.

Until Adebayor's late effort it seemed like the visitors' efforts would prove in vain as they failed to make the most of a dominant passage of play following Charlie Adam's dismissal in the 47th minute.

But Villas-Boas is now sure to lead his side into next week's season-ending clash with Sunderland still in with a shout of a fourth-placed finish, and he praised his side for their patience.

Villas-Boas said: "We wanted to take it to the last day when we are playing at home, so it was an extremely important win for us for those reasons, and hopefully someone else will slip up.

"I am extremely happy for the team in the way we were patient in the game, we kept the ball moving and eventually we got the breakthrough."

Spurs had to strike back from the shock of falling behind after just three minutes when Steven Nzonzi headed an Adam free-kick past Hugo Lloris.

Gareth Bale fired wide as the visitors gradually stirred, before Clint Dempsey equalised in the 20th minute following a superb piece of improvisation.

Stoke defender Marc Wilson and keeper Asmir Begovic got in a muddle over a cross-field ball by Scott Parker, Wilson clearing the ball to Dempsey who responded by lobbing it straight back over the stranded Begovic from 30 yards.

Stoke had further chances through Adam and Peter Crouch but the game swung two minutes after the restart when Adam was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis insisted the decision by referee Kevin Friend ruined the game, saying: "I don't think Charlie has touched (Jan) Vertonghen on the first one and on the second one he's made a mistake by sliding in but again I don't think he touches him.

"It's disappointing because I watch football day in, day out and you see some challenges that don't even get bookings, then you see two challenges like that one today getting a sending-off.

"What disappoints me is there was a full house here for a great day to watch a really good game of football and it has just been taken away from them. The game was then not a game."

Spurs dominated the rest of the game but looked set to be frustrated with Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross denying Bale and Tom Huddlestone in the box, then Begovic tipping an effort from Dempsey over the bar.

The impressive American finally made his presence felt again when he seized on a deflected clearance to prod the ball back across the six-yard box where Adebayor was waiting to convert the simplest of chances.

Villas-Boas added: "He (Dempsey) has been absolutely immense this season with his assisting and his goalscoring and he has sometimes not got the credit he deserves.

"He is a hard worker and a very complete athlete and he had an amazing game. It was an extremely good individual performance."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil