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Usher: Reds defence key at Basel

Liverpool about an hour ago
Read
Feb 25, 2013

Allardyce: AVB must lead Spurs to third

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has claimed ahead of Monday night's London derby against local rivals Tottenham that Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas needs to secure a top-three finish in the Premier League to be judged a success this season.

• Blog: Bobby Moore - gone but not forgotten

Allardyce has cited the scenario that faced Harry Redknapp, who lost his job at Tottenham after finishing fourth last season, to back up his suggestion that Villas-Boas is a man under pressure as he attempts to guide Tottenham back into the Champions League.

Tottenham can move above Chelsea into third place with a win at Upton Park, and allardyce believes that is the minimum requirement for the young Portuguese coach this term.

"They've got to finish higher than fourth, haven't they, and that's the pressure for him (Villas-Boas)," Allardyce said, according to The Sun.

"Villas-Boas has done great taking over from Harry, but fourth is the same as Harry and you know what happens in football. They'll say 'oh, well Harry done that'.

"I think Tottenham are good enough to finish third or fourth as long as they continue to keep the top players fit and don't pick up too many injuries. If they can do that, they've got a really good chance of getting that third place.

"He has probably learned an awful lot from his short time at Chelsea. It was the first time that things didn't go so well for him and you can probably learn more in that period of time than you can when things went as well as they did at Porto, where he won the [Europa League]."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has claimed his side have been presented with a "unique opportunity" to assume control of third place in the Premier League ahead of the West Ham clash.

Chelsea's defeat at Manchester City on Sunday has opened the door for Spurs to leap ahead of their London rivals and snare a spot that will guarantee entry into the group stages of the Champions League for next season.

With so much at stake, Villas-Boas could be forgiven for dampening down the expectations on his players before the game in east London, but he is doing the opposite, suggesting wins at Upton Park and in next week's north London derby against Arsenal are pivotal to Tottenham's expectations for this season.

"This is a unique opportunity to be third in the Premier League," he said. "I think the boys will be up for it and I don't worry that there will be an affect from playing in Europe. We have done well after most of our Europa League games so far.

"The boys are really committed to their Champions League objective. West Ham will be a difficult game at a difficult stadium. It is a game that is always full of passion and emotion. It's not going to be easy but we are on a good run. Hopefully we can get three points and be third at the end of the week."

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