AVB plans rivals ‘negative spiral’

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TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas knows there is still work to do before his side can feel comfortable about securing Champions League football - but feels yesterday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal will send their arch rivals into a “negative spiral”.

First-half goals in the space of two minutes from Gareth Bale - his 20th of an outstanding campaign - and Aaron Lennon just before the break proved enough to hold off the Gunners, who had started the game well and rallied after Per Mertesacker’s header on 51 minutes, but failed to find an equaliser.

Spurs moved back above Chelsea up into third place in the Barclays Premier League, and crucially opened up a seven-point gap on Arsenal - who now look in real danger of failing to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in 16 seasons.

While not getting carried away with the win, Villas-Boas believes it will have a huge psychological impact on Arsene Wenger’s team.

“Obviously it doesn’t mean nothing because last year when Arsenal won to shorten the gap to seven points it felt that everything was too possible for Tottenham’s qualification and it shifted very, very quickly, so it is not a big margin yet for us to be completely safe,” the former Chelsea manager said.

“What we think is it can have a direct effect on their motivation - on ours too, obviously. But particularly on them because the difference from last year is 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.”

Tottenham are now within striking distance of second-placed Manchester City, ahead of their game against strugglers Aston Villa tomorrow night. Villas-Boas, however, is determined to hold a sense of perspective.

“At the moment we keep our feet on ground. We still have some difficult games to play against big teams - Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City plus Everton - teams who have same objectives as ours, so it hasn’t finished yet.”

Arsenal boss Wenger has no knowledge of a potential takeover at Arsenal - but insists that is a concern only for owner Stan Kroenke and whether he wants to sell up.

Reports have emerged claiming a Middle East consortium are preparing a £1.5billion bid to buy out the Barclays Premier League club at around £20,000 a share.

“I don’t know anything about it, I heard it like you [in the newspapers],” said Wenger. “You are only vulnerable if you want to sell and you need money. (However), that doesn’t concern me at all, that is down to the owners.”