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AVB calls for improvement

Andre Villas-Boas has called on Tottenham to step up their performance for the trip to Chelsea.

Last Updated: 05/05/13 at 13:27 Post Comment

Andre Villas-Boas: Wants more from his Tottenham players

Andre Villas-Boas: Wants more from his Tottenham players

Andre Villas-Boas has called on Tottenham to step up their performance for the trip to Chelsea after watching his team complete a fortunate late win over Southampton on Saturday.

Tottenham kept the pressure on Arsenal and Chelsea with a 1-0 win over the Saints, but they did it the hard way, leaving it until four minutes from time to find the winner, which inevitably, came from the left boot of Gareth Bale.

Spurs looked lake a pale imitation of the team that stunned Manchester City into submission a fortnight ago - they lacked width and creativity while Bale was anonymous until his 25-yard strike stole all three points for the hosts at the death.

A win at Chelsea will see Spurs leapfrog Arsenal and put Villas-Boas' team in pole position to secure a top-four finish.

But the 35-year-old, who will be returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was sacked as Chelsea boss, knows his team will have to put on a better display if they are to win their first game at Stamford Bridge since 1990.

"We didn't play well in the first half, but we deserve (the three points) after what we did in the second half," the Tottenham manager told Spurs TV Online after the game.

"We improved and Southampton closed the spaces, they gave us lots of difficulties, but we got what we deserved in the end.

"Today was probably not about the performance. It was about getting the result.

"It was not the 'Spurs way', but in the end it keeps us in the frame and hopefully we will improve, and play better against Chelsea. It's a big, big game."

Spurs were so poor in the first half that they were lucky not to be 2-0 down by the break.

Nathaniel Clyne volleyed wide unmarked after Rickie Lambert sliced open the Tottenham back four, and shortly afterwards the top English scorer in the Barclays Premier League hit a post from a free-kick thanks to the fingertips of the excellent Hugo Lloris.

Given the form of their rivals, Villas-Boas admits Tottenham may have to win their remaining games against Chelsea, Stoke, and Sunderland to secure Champions League qualification.

He said: "It will be extremely difficult, but if we achieve these nine points we will be enjoying Champions League football next season.

"That is our aim, but we understand that other teams are improving and it will probably go down to the wire.

"The three points gives us a wonderful opportunity against a team that is fighting for the same objectives as us."

Bale's strike, which came on his 200th appearance for the club, meant that he became the first Spurs player since Jurgen Klinsmann to reach 20 league goals in a season.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino was moved to reassess his claim earlier in the week that yesterday's opponents were not a one-man team - "Maybe, I made a mistake," he said.

The Saints boss, whose side sit four points above the relegation zone, could not hide his admiration for the award-winning forward, who came through the famed academy at the south-coast club before moving to Tottenham in 2007.

"We didn't deserve to lose but one special, amazing moment from Gareth Bale and all that hard work was undone," he said.

"We played a really good game and there were phases in which we were superior, especially in the first half. But we needed to certify that with goals and we weren't able to do that.


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