Villas-Boas: Tottenham have to finish above Arsenal

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Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas thinks Spurs 'have to' finish above Arsenal this season if they want to qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs cruelly missed out on the elite European competition last season, despite finishing fourth in the Premier League. Chelsea's victory in the Champions League meant Arsenal clinched the last qualifying spot in third place, as the Stamford Bridge side qualifed as winners despite finishing fifth.

Spurs led Arsenal for much of the season, but were eventually overhauled. And the catalyst for that turnaround was Arsenal's 5-2 victory at the Emirates Stadium last season. Spurs went 2-0 ahead in that game, only to slump to a devastating defeat that had lasting effects on their season.

Tottenham have an opportunity to avenge that defeat this weekend when they travel to the Emirates Stadium, and Villas-Boas believes Spurs must finish above Arsenal this season if they want to clinch fourth spot.

Asked ahead of the north London derby if that was a realistic target, Villas Boas said on BBC Sport:"We have to.

"By what I see, it's obvious that Man United, Man City and Chelsea are into a big running towards the title.

"To play for that fourth spot, I think you know it's difficult bearing in mind the amount of competition you have to beat."

Spurs currently sit seventh in the Premier League table, a point ahead of the Gunners after 11 games.

Villas-Boas takes charge of his first north London derby this weekend, and the Portuguese boss believes Spurs are bridging the gap between them and the Gunners.

"Recently, they have obtained more Champions League qualifications, so our objectives for the season have been within their reach for the last couple of years," said Villas-Boas.

"We are certainly getting nearer in terms of what we are doing for the club, but the past shows that at the moment they are regular in obtaining those sorts of objectives."

The Spurs manager also confirmed Mousa Dembele will miss the match on Saturday, but revealed he stands a chance of returning for the Europa League match against Lazio.

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