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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 8 hours ago
Read
Apr 1, 2013

AVB: Top-four as important as Europa

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas insists the club's push for a top-four finish in the Premier League will not jeopardise this season's Europa League campaign.

• Fitch: Why Spurs fans should be cheering on Chelsea in the cups

Spurs currently sit third with 57 points, two clear of Chelsea with Arsenal a further two behind. Everton are sixth with 51 points.

However, Spurs have played one game more than their rivals, meaning the pressure is starting to build on Villas-Boas and his men to secure a lucrative spot in the Champions League.

And with Spurs facing Basel in the first leg of their quarter-final Europa League clash on Thursday, there is the possibility that a packed schedule could quickly evaporate their challenge both domestically and on the continent. Villas-Boas disagrees.

"[The Europa League] has the same importance as every game we play, although I understand that it is always the league position that determines the success of the season," Villas-Boas said.

"You always get comfortable when you are further ahead from the pack but the other teams are so near. It is not the first time that the other teams have been so near to us and it shifts every week.

"The fact that we are going to be third this week doesn't put more or less doubt on ourselves or make us over-confident. We have to continue to do our job.

"It will depend probably on the fixtures against the teams who have the same objectives as us. It may depend on what happens between Chelsea and Manchester United in the FA Cup as it could mean our game against them is postponed for later.

"But we have Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea to come, if we can gather points in those games it could be decisive in terms of our final place in the league."

However, the former Chelsea and Porto coach was confident his side could more than meet the demands of fighting on both fronts.

"We dream of winning trophies so our focus on the Europa League won't shift, " Villas-Boas said. "We understand that we have to keep the team fresh and we are able to rotate as we have top-quality players that allow us to do so.

"Now we are in the Europa League quarter-finals we can only dream of winning the trophy."

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