Paulinho targets Liverpool
Paulinho has set his sights on Liverpool as Tottenham look to take a decisive step forward in their quest for Champions League football.
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The 25-year-old Brazilian scored in Spurs' 2-1 fightback win at Sunderland on Saturday evening to complete a good week for manager Andre Villas-Boas, who had found himself under pressure in the wake of his team's 6-0 trouncing at Manchester City last month.
A 2-2 home draw with Manchester United and wins at Fulham and on Wearside have more than steadied the ship and left the Londoners just three points adrift of Brendan Rodgers second-placed side, who head for White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Paulinho told Spurs TV: "It's a big game at home and we must think that if we play the same as we did against United, we have a big chance to win at home against Liverpool."
Villas-Boas has set his sights on a top-four finish, and is refusing to look any further ahead than that in the wake of an improved run of form.
Asked if he may has to re-assess his targets given that Spurs have closed the gap on Liverpool, he replied: "It's still very compact at the moment.
"Arsenal have gone a distance. Obviously Arsenal have three important fixtures in the next games with Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton, but we just want to be near them and get ourselves into the Champions League positions.
"At the moment, we are fighting our way back, but we want to be there at the end of the season."
Victory at the Stadium of Light was secured courtesy of John O'Shea's second-half own goal, although in truth, the visitors should have won far more comfortably.
However, they had to come from behind to claim the points after Gus Poyet's bottom-of-the-table side took the lead after a lukewarm start to the game.
Hugo Lloris flapped at Ondrej Celustka's 37th-minute cross to allow Adam Johnson to slam the loose ball into the top corner.
But the Black Cats were unable to make it to the break unscathed and the visitors were back in it within six minutes when Paulinho stabbed home from close range from Nacer Chadli's header back across goal.
Paulinho said: "I scored again and I am very happy about getting one more goal. But everybody in the group, my colleagues played very well also."
Spurs needed just five minutes of the second half to wrap up the win when Mousa Dembele powered his way past Jack Colback on the left and then saw his cross cannon off O'Shea and past goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
They should really have been out of sight with Jermain Defoe twice hitting the post and firing wide with just Mannone to beat, and they might have been made to pay had referee Lee Mason awarded a 75th-minute penalty after substitute Sandro appeared to block Sebastian Larsson's corner with his arm.
However, he did not and Tottenham managed to see out time with few scares to claim the win.