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Spurs confident ahead of derby clash

Tottenham assistant manager Steffen Freund has claimed his side are ready to end Arsenal's 15-year run as Champions League regulars, as the countdown continues to Saturday's North London derby.

Freund failed to finish ahead of Arsenal during his days as a Tottenham player, but he believes Arsene Wenger's men are more vulnerable than ever after a run of form that has drained their confidence.

Spurs are hardly heading to the Emirates Stadium in prime form after back-to-back defeats against Wigan and Manchester City, but Freund is talking a good game ahead of one of the most eagerly-anticipated derby battles in recent times.

"We are very close to Arsenal now," he said. "This was not always the case as in my time as a player with Tottenham, they were always involved in a title race and we were some way behind in eighth or ninth, but this is changing.

"Spurs are in a better position now and the gap has closed. It would be great to finish above Arsenal, but they have finished in the Champions League year after year and that has given them a financial advantage over us."

Tottenham are sweating on the fitness of leading scorer Jermain Defoe ahead of Saturday's derby clash as he nurses a hamstring problem, while Moussa Dembele has been back home in Belgium trying to resolve his ongoing back problem. Villas-Boas also has fitness doubts over Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon, yet Freund remains in upbeat mood.

"There are only two of these games every season and we have to enjoy this," added the German. "I can't wait for this game and I know what it always means to our supporters."

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