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What They Said: AVB aware of Arsenal threat

ESPN staff
May 12, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Villas-Boas: Champions League dream is still alive

Andre Villas-Boas believes the battle for Champions League football between his Tottenham side and North London rivals Arsenal will go down to the final day of the season.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored the winning goal in a vital 2-1 victory for Spurs against Stoke on Sunday to put pressure on his former side Arsenal, with Tottenham moving into the final Champions League spot in fourth in the table and two points clear having played a game more. Arsenal play their game in hand against newly-crowned FA Cup champions Wigan on Tuesday night.

Villas-Boas though feels the Gunners will ensure the tussle goes to the last game of the campaign next week.

"It [the win] keeps us in the frame and gives us the possibility of making the Champions League so the important thing is the dream is still alive for us," Villas-Boas said.

"We wanted to take it to the last day when we are playing at home, so it was an extremely important win for us for those reasons, and hopefully someone else will slip up. Arsenal are strong and experienced but it will go down to the wire."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis meanwhile felt the game turned on the dismissal of Charlie Adam in the second half.

"I don't think Charlie has touched [Jan] Vertonghen on the first one and on the second one he's made a mistake by sliding in but again I don't think he touches him," Pulis told Sky Sports.

However, he was pleased that Stoke fended off relegation and will play another season in the top flight. "I'm delighted for us to be in the Premier League for a sixth consecutive season," he said.

David Moyes, the man set to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, signed off with a final home victory for Everton against West Ham, and he paid tribute to the Goodison Park faithful.

"I think the crowd today showed what Everton means to them," Moyes said. "I count myself extremely lucky. I have had a really good chairman and board who will let me get on with things. That is what Everton do: they want stability."

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said his side were fortunate to only concede two goals. "The way we played today we were lucky to get away with 2-0," he said.

Newcastle confirmed their survival with a 2-1 win at relegated Queens Park Rangers, and Alan Pardew was amazed how his side avoided the drop.

"It's a big relief because this is a massive club. We got the win that we needed," he said. "The injuries we've suffered this year have been horrendous, this type of year usually ends up in relegation."

Harry Redknapp defended his decision to substitute Jose Bosingwa at the break - at fault for both of Newcastle's goals - as he was on the receiving end of abuse from the QPR fans.

"You can't play when there's that sort of negativity around the place, it wasn't going to help, so I decided to change it," Redknapp said.

Like Newcastle, Norwich fended off relegation with an emphatic 4-0 victory over West Brom, and manager Chris Hughton said: "I am absolutely delighted. Over the season we deserved it even though it has been tough the last few weeks."

West Brom boss Steve Clarke was unhappy with the performance his players gave. "It is the poorest we have played all season. We were looking to break the 50-point mark but today Norwich were hungrier and sharper than us, it was their day," he said.

Daniel Sturridge fired in a hat-trick in a 3-1 win for Liverpool at Fulham, and his manager Brendan Rodgers feels the striker has the ability to be one of the best in the country.

"I just felt Daniel just needed the platform to show what he could do and you see today the demonstration of his pace and his power. He's a great talent and I think he will prove if he stays fit and plays games to be one of the top strikers in the Premier League in the next few years," Rodgers said.

Fulham manager Martin Jol believes the West London club need to bolster their team if they are to improve for next season. "We need four, five or six players but that's normal at any club. We need to strengthen," the Dutchman said.

Paolo Di Canio felt Sunderland would not have been worthy winners if they found another goal in the 1-1 draw with Southampton. "We didn't deserve to win the game because Southampton did a better job than us," the Italian said.

Southampton moved a step closer to survival, and boss Mauricio Pochettino was asked after the match whether it was the right decision to bring him in as manager. "I'm not sure. I've been hearing the same question for four months now. It's not for me to answer that question," he said.

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