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Spurs boss discusses top-four battle and ‘crucial’ Everton clash

15:08 07 February 2014

Tim Sherwood

Tim Sherwood

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tim Sherwood says the fight for fourth is likely to be decided by the head-to-head showdowns between the rivalling teams – and he admits Sunday’s home game against Everton is “crucial”.

Tottenham go into this weekend’s clash sitting in sixth place, one point behind the Toffees and three points off Liverpool, who currently occupy the coveted last Champions League position.

Mousa Dembele says Sunday’s home game against the Toffees is “perhaps one of the most important of the season so far”, and Sherwood agrees.

“I think possibly the team who finishes fourth will be the one who takes the most points off the teams around them, and that includes Everton,” said the head coach.

“It’s very important and I’m glad the players think it’s as important as I do, because they’ll be reminded that it’s a crucial game and it could be a springboard for us to go on a nice run again.

“Liverpool are favourites because they’re in that spot at the moment, but we’ve still got to go to Anfield (on March 30) and that will be a crucial game.

“We just need to make sure that we’re in a position, between now and when we do travel up there, that we’re in with a fighting chance, and I fully expect to be there.

“I think Newcastle will be in the fight. If they get a favourable result this weekend then we’re playing them next week and if they were to beat us…

“They’re still in it, it’s open for any team to put a run together. There are teams up and around that spot who can put a nice run together and elevate themselves up there. “I think the top three are away and are possibly too far away for anyone to catch. You always strive to get as high as you possibly can, but I think it might be a bridge too far.

“The three teams we’re talking about seem to be away and playing very well, and they don’t look like they’re going to drop too many points – but you never know.”

There was little between Spurs and Everton when they last met at Goodison Park in November and played out a goalless draw during Andre Villas-Boas’ tenure.

Now Sherwood is in charge, and he is full of praise for his opposite number Roberto Martinez as the pair prepare to go head to head on the touchline at the Lane.

“He’s done very well, he’s been a good manager for a period of time now,” said Sherwood, who turned 45 this week. “He had a fantastic period at Wigan and he has gone there [to Everton] and it’s been a fantastic start. He’s changed the way Everton play.

“They look to be a little more adventurous but we would have to say that David Moyes did an excellent job at Everton in the period of time he was there.

“It’s good, it’s attractive football to watch and we know by playing that type of football that you can occasionally leave yourself open to what we saw in the derby up there at Anfield (when Liverpool beat Everton 4-0 on January 28).

“You’ve got me started on this formation thing, but it’s all about individual players. Individual errors count for the goals.

“If you look at those goals they conceded against Liverpool, it wasn’t because they were wide open, it was to do with individual errors and unfortunately they couldn’t turn it around against a very good side.

“But I have seen Everton do that to a lot of teams this season, so we hope to catch them on a bad day.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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