Andre Villas-Boas: Tottenham on verge of becoming elite club

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Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has claimed Spurs are on the fringes of becoming a big club, while the Portuguese said Arsenal were on a downward spiral.

Spurs boosted their hopes of securing Champions League qualification with a 2-1 victory in the north London derby on Sunday and Villas-Boas believes his side are taking strides towards reaching elite status.

"Everybody's ambition is to be there, the club could be propelled into a big club in England in the future," he told reporters after the game.

"This club is taking massive steps in terms of investment in structures and players too."

He added: "There is a great focus on trying to make this year the year we qualify for the Champions League once again. Everybody is bonding together regarding our objective, the players have been absolutely outstanding, making it their objective. They make it public, they want to be in it, their desire has been tremendous in these recent games."

Tottenham's victory extended their unbeaten league run to 12, a club record in the Premier League, and though they are now seven points clear of Arsenal in fifth, Villas-Boas believes a Champions League spot is not yet safe. He also claimed Spurs' north London rivals were slipping into a negative spiral.

"It's not a big margin yet for us to be completely safe," the Portuguese manager said. "It can have a direct effect on their motivation, and on ours too. Particularly on them, because we are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence and they are in a negative spiral in terms of results. And to be out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult."

He added: "At the moment we keep our feet on the ground, still some difficult games to play against big teams - Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City plus Everton - teams who have the same objective as ours, so it hasn't finished yet. Everything is still possible and we just have to gather the most amount of points we can."

Spurs took a 2-0 first-half lead at White Hart Lane courtesy of goals from player of the year contender Gareth Bale and England winger Aaron Lennon. Per Mertesacker pulled a goal back with a second-half header, deflected in off Bale, but Tottenham held on. Villas-Boas praised his side's performance.

"It was extremely pleasing, there were some great, great individual performances," he said. "We have to mention everybody, but Gylfi [Sigurdsson] did ever so well, [Scott] Parker - great, great game for him, Benoit [Assou-Ekotto] is improving in form and confidence."

Spurs travel to Anfield to face Liverpool next weekend, hoping to claim their fifth straight league victory.

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