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Apr 19, 2013

AVB: All our games are 'must win'

Andre Villas-Boas has conceded that all of Tottenham's final six Premier League games fall into the "must-win" category, but insists they will not need maximum points to secure a top-four finish.

• Bale set to face City

Villas-Boas believes that fourth-placed Arsenal are now in pole position to land one of the two Champions League qualifying positions up for grabs in the final month of the season.

However, the Spurs boss is refusing to accept that his side, who are two points off the Gunners in fifth but with a game in hand, have surrendered the momentum with the finishing line now in sight.

"It is very difficult for me to say who are the favourites," he said, when quizzed on the race for a top-four finish. "Obviously, we want to be in there, but we have probably the second worst calendar [fixtures left to play]. Everton have a difficult calendar; Chelsea too.

"I think all of the teams are trying to get the most amount of points as possible, even though they play against big teams. Arsenal have probably the easier calendar, even though they have Man United at home.

"It will be a great, great spectacle for the Premier League, but we have everything in our hands with this spare game. It is up to us to do our job in the game in hand against Chelsea. Most of the teams won't be able to win all the points available. It depends who you drop the points against.

"All of them are must-win games, but obviously I don't expect to win all of them. We don't expect to make 18 [points]. The minimum requirement is maybe 12. That is the guideline from the past years of what you need. It shifts very quickly. Most of the teams will not be able to get all the points.

"It is the ultimate objective of top clubs to get into the Champions League. We have [to play] Man City, Chelsea, Wigan away. It is going to be difficult for us. At the moment we are chasing the others and we hope to be able to achieve a great result against Man City."

Villas-Boas has used the lengthy break in his side's fixture list to revive his players ahead of Sunday's game against City, handing them an extended break after their Europa League exit at the hands of Basel.

"Sometimes with such a big gap, you can over-train," he said. "We allowed the players to rest and decided to rest them. We came back to work with plenty of time, a five-day preparation. It was enough for us to feel ready for the game. If it impacts positively or negatively, we can only say after the end result. That's how football is."

Villas-Boas was full of praise for City ahead of the meeting with Roberto Mancini's side, even though they are on the brink of surrendering their Premier League title to rivals Manchester United.

"You would expect United to take away the title from them, but City is still one of the great teams in the country, playing excellent football," he said. "[In] what looked to be a difficult season for them, they have qualified for the FA Cup final.

"I consider them a great, great team who play excellent football. They have been getting some great results. Sometimes in football you need moments of pressure and tension to excel. Plus, the fact we are playing against the champions is a motivation."

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