By Nick Wright
Monday, February 25, 2013
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce says Andre Villas-Boas can steer Tottenham to a third-place finish this season and believes the Portuguese must aim high if he is to outshine predecessor Harry Redknapp.
Spurs face the Hammers at Upton Park tonight knowing a win would lift them above Chelsea, who lost 2-0 at Manchester City yesterday, and re-establish their four-point cushion on rivals Arsenal after their 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
And while Villas-Boas’ priority is to ensure a fourth-place finish, Allardyce believes the Spurs boss must set his sights higher.
He said: “They’ve got to finish higher than fourth, haven’t they? That’s the pressure for him.
“He’s done great taking over from Harry, but fourth is the same as Harry and you know what we’re like in football – they’ll say ‘oh, well Harry did that’.”
He continued: “But I think they’re good enough to finish third or fourth. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
“I think if they continue to maintain the top players fit, and don’t get injured, they’ve got a really good chance and they might even get into that third spot.”
West Ham, meanwhile, will be looking to pull further away from the relegation zone tonight with their seventh home win of the season.
The Hammers were beaten 3-1 by Spurs in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane in November, but Allardyce believes his players will provide a far greater threat on home turf.
“I was particularly impressed with them when we played them, their frontline was outstanding,” he said.
“We know we’ve got a game on our hands on Monday but we’re a different team at home and we enjoy playing against the big boys.
“It seems to bring the best out of our players and hopefully it will be the same [tonight].”