Van der Vaart targets third
Rafael van der Vaart has urged his team-mates to keep focusing on what they need to do as Tottenham aim to overhaul Arsenal and finish third.
Last Updated: 05/05/12 3:14pm
Rafael van der Vaart has urged his team-mates to keep focusing on what they need to do as Tottenham aim to overhaul Arsenal and finish third in the Premier League.
Spurs have enjoyed a mini-revival over the past couple of weeks to register back-to-back wins over Blackburn and Bolton and move back into the top four with two games remaining.
Spurs are now ahead of fifth-placed Newcastle on goal difference, but they know finishing fourth may not necessarily guarantee them a place in the UEFA Champions League as Chelsea will qualify for the competition if they beat Bayern Munich in the European Cup final later this month.
Van der Vaart is therefore keeping his sights firmly fixed on third place and is looking to beat Aston Villa and Fulham to rise above the Gunners.
Speaking before Arsenal were held to a 3-3 draw by Norwich at Emirates Stadium, Van der Vaart told Spurs TV Online: "We are now only a point behind Arsenal, so anything is possible.
"There are two games to go, but it feels like there is still a long way to go.
"We just have to concentrate on what we have to do at Villa."
Van der Vaart has been key to Tottenham's turnaround, scoring in their last two matches to end what he thinks was a difficult time for him at the club.
The 29-year-old, who has been a revelation since signing for Spurs in August 2010, claims he has been underperforming recently and has also been troubled by niggling injuries.
"When we win it is easy and everyone says you're great, but when you lose, we have to look in the mirror and be critical of ourselves," he added.
"I had a few games that were really bad and you can't help the team then. I am happy everything has changed now.
"I can do more, I think. I am a player that has to play well to say something. When I play bad it is difficult to say something.
"But on the pitch I want to help everybody. Everybody is working together - Emmanuel Adebayor up front is an amazing striker for me and the whole team. It is great to play with him."
As well as a dismal run of form in the league, Spurs had to endure the humiliation of a 5-1 thrashing in their FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley, although the Blues were aided by a goal that should never have been given.
Van der Vaart revealed that a team meeting following the drubbing was part of the reason why Spurs have performed better of late.
"We spoke (after the semi-final). We said we have to stay together, especially in difficult times and play as a team," the former Real Madrid man said.
"It is not important to play well, but to fight. Then the wins come."