Walker talks up top-four hopes
Kyle Walker is convinced Tottenham are destined for Champions League qualification under Andre Villas-Boas.
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Tottenham face perhaps the stiffest test of their top-four credentials on Sunday when they visit champions Manchester City.
Last season Spurs and City played out one of the most entertaining games of the season, which saw the hosts clinch all three points when Mario Balotelli scored an injury-time penalty just moments after Jermain Defoe came within inches of putting the away side 3-2 up.
Had Tottenham won they would have been two points off the Barclays Premier League summit with 16 games left.
The way the Tottenham fans booed Villas-Boas and his team during their 1-0 defeat to Wigan last week suggests some feel the Portuguese is perhaps not up to the challenge of leading the club to such heights this season.
But Walker has no doubts about the 35-year-old's ability to take Tottenham back in to Europe's elite once more after last season's disappointing relegation to the Europa League.
"With the players we have and the players we brought in, I am more than confident (we can finish in the top four)," the England right-back said.
"We just need to keep listening to the gaffer and his tactics.
"If we do that then I most definitely think that we will get the results we need.
"It was disappointing how it went last year but that's just the way it goes."
Villas-Boas is on a mission to restore his reputation in English football after having his reign cut short at Chelsea after eight months.
Walker, like a number of other Tottenham players, approves of the raft of information the Portuguese gathers on each of his forthcoming opponents, and of Villas-Boas' management style in general.
"He has been very good, not just on the training field but off it too," Walker said at an event organised by the Topps Match Attax Tour.
"We have been looking at different teams, how they play and their strengths and weaknesses.
"It has helped me. It's just as important as training. If I go out not knowing about my opponent then it's an even playing field, but if I know which foot he prefers and how he likes to play then I have that upper hand. It's more than helpful."
If Thursday's performance against Maribor is anything to go by, City will be given perhaps their toughest examination of the season tomorrow afternoon.
Defoe looked razor-sharp, scoring his first hat-trick in a Spurs shirt since February 2010, and there were also impressive performances from youngster Tom Carroll and winger Gareth Bale.
Bale scored a 20-yard stunner against City last year and provided the cross that saw Defoe almost snatch what could have been the winner in the final minute.
Bale set up Defoe for two of his strikes against Maribor and the England striker thinks the Wales winger is in top form ahead of tomorrow's game.
"He is unbelievable," Defoe told Spurs TV Online.
"Sometimes he picks the ball up in his own half and he runs the whole length of the pitch at pace and you've got to keep up with him to get the ball.
"He does it all game. He is a machine. If I look at all the players I've played with in my whole career I've never played with someone like that, someone with that pace, that power and those fitness levels.
"He has great ability on the ball. He's a special player."
Villas-Boas hopes to have Sandro available after he made encouraging progress in his return from a calf injury.
The Spurs boss must also decide whether to retain former City striker Emmanuel Adebayor after he combined well with Defoe in his first start of the season on Thursday.