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Feb 3, 2013

Dembele warns of fading top four hopes

Tottenham midfielder Moussa Dembele has warned his team-mates that they are in danger of blowing their hopes of a top four finish unless they get back to winning ways at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

• Blog: Holtby and Bale offer hope

Andre Villas-Boas's men head to The Hawthorns having not won a Premier League fixture in over a month, leading the Belgian to suggest his side needs to click back into gear right now if they are to stay ahead of the pack chasing a Champions League place for next season.

"If you see the team we have, I would not be scared to play anyone in the Premier League, but we have missed some chances in the last few weeks to build a gap on our rivals," Dembele said. "Sometimes we have dropped points in games when we should have won and it is so frustrating when [we] think about some of the amazing performances we have this season. When we won at Old Trafford, we played some great football.

"You see Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool dropping points and we could be further ahead of them. We have finished some of our recent games and said: 'Ah, if only we win today and we are further ahead in the top four'.

"Despite this, we are still in a strong position as long as we start winning games right now. If we are a team with a real idea of finishing in the top four, then we need to go to places likes West Bromwich and get a victory."

Dembele insists he is not disappointed by Tottenham's failure to sign a striker during the January transfer window and made the surprising confession that he knew little about new team-mate Lewis Holtby, who arrived from Schalke last week.

"I have faith in my own abilities and don't see the arrival of another midfielder as a threat to my place in the team," he said. "To be honest, I do not follow football outside of the Premier League so I could not tell you so much about Holtby, but you can see straight away from his first training session that he is a talented player.

"Holtby feels like he is all-rounded to me. He is good on the ball, likes to play an accurate pass and he has a bit of everything. Top clubs need quality players and it looks like we have signed another one."

Holtby is likely to appear on the Spurs bench against West Brom, with Villas-Boas claiming he is cautious about rushing the midfielder into the starting line-up.

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