Tottenham boss Villas-Boas hits back at intolerable Szczesny jibe

The Arsenal keeper claimed that Spurs lack the quality to finish in the top four ahead of their crunch clash against Chelsea on Wednesday, to which the Portuguese takes exception
By Greg Stobart

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has hit back at Wojciech Szczesny after the Arsenal goalkeeper claimed that Spurs "do not have enough quality" to achieve Champions League qualification.

The Portuguese's side are locked in a battle for a top-four finish with the Gunners and Chelsea and were taunted by the Poland international ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

Villas-Boas feels that the Poland international's comments were insincere as the end-of-season tension between the north London rivals heats up.

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"An Arsenal player who has only been at the club for a couple of years is not entitled to so much hatred for Tottenham like he seems to have," the Spurs head coach told the media.

"I think it would be a little bit more tolerable if it came from a genuine Arsenal fan.

"Coming from an Arsenal player who is only passing through to another club and isn't going to stay there for life, he doesn't mean those words from the heart.

"We don't expect any love from an Arsenal player to a Tottenham. A little lack of respect is normal in a rivalry."

Tottenham sit fifth in the Premier League table, three points behind Chelsea and two back from Arsenal, although they have played one game fewer than Arsene Wenger's side.

Villas-Boas returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for the first time since he was sacked by Blues owner Roman Abramovich in March 2012 but the Portuguese insists that his focus is purely on beating his former side.

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He added: "At the moment, our drive is to set out to win the game so we can depend on ourselves to win the remaining fixtures. We have a great task ahead of us.

"Going back to Chelsea is not very special; it's a club that I've gone past. I have good and bad memories, like everybody else, but it was a period that didn't finish the way I'd have liked.

"The pressure is on everybody. Three clubs separated by three points at this stage is absolutely outstanding and all of us feel the pressure in some way.

"We set out with the objective of Champions League football for next season. We're not far from our objective. We're happy that we depend on us but we have to be extremely good at Stamford Bridge to achieve it.

"The objective from the club is to reach the level of success in trophies that Chelsea have achieved, within Tottenham's philosophy and club culture. From my perspective, this club have taken tremendous steps forward recently and want to be in the mix of teams that compete for titles."