Caulker Spurred on by derby
Steven Caulker has played down the scale of Tottenham's recent dip and insists Spurs can return to winning ways at home to West Ham on Sunday. Tottenham touched down in London in the early hours of Friday morning after their tumultuous trip to Rome. The shocking stabbing and controversial anti-Semitic chanting that occurred in the Italian capital overshadowed what was largely a poor performance that will do little to silence Andre Villas-Boas' doubters. Hugo Lloris almost single-handedly prevented Villas-Boas' side from slipping to a damaging defeat, but Spurs have a chance to restore some faith by beating the in-form Hammers in one of the most fiercely-contested derbies in the capital. Defeats against Wigan, Arsenal and Manchester City have seen Tottenham fall away from the top four in the last couple of weeks and Caulker is keen to arrest the slump. "It's important for us to get our form back in the league," the Tottenham defender said. "We made a good start to it. We hit a bit of a dip in form but we're a good bunch of lads and we're working hard every day to put it right. "There's no denying it's a massive game for us and we're confident we can get three points and put the season back on an upwards spiral." Caulker and his centre-back partner Jan Vertonghen went AWOL on a number of occasions at the Stadio Olimpico, with only some poor finishing from Libor Kozak, and the performance of Lloris in Tottenham's goal, saving the duo's blushes. The half-empty arena, and the vicious attack on the eve of the match made for a subdued atmosphere inside the stadium, but Caulker admits the experience of visiting such an illustrious venue has whetted his appetite for playing on the biggest arena in club football - the Champions League. "I'd love to play in the San Siro but that's a bit out of sight at the moment. Hopefully next season if we can finish top four this season," the 20-year-old said. "If you ask all the lads and manager we're all motivated to get in the Champions League, so our motivation is to get in the top four this season." While Reading and Southampton have struggled to adapt to life back in the top-flight, West Ham have started the season with a bang. Sam Allardyce's men have lost just three times this season and currently reside in seventh place - something that has impressed Villas-Boas. "You have to congratulate them when it's due, they have been extremely good this season," the Portuguese said. "It makes them more comfortable in terms of their objective which is to stay in the Premier League. So now they are on track and maybe they can raise their objectives." The Hammers' ascent has come despite the fact that their star signing Andy Carroll has not scored since arriving on loan from Liverpool in the summer. Villas-Boas thinks the £35million striker has nevertheless had a positive impact at Upton Park and expects him to be handful in tomorrow afternoon's game. "He fits their style of play which is so effective, very direct but with great results," Villas-Boas added. "Obviously he's not scoring as much as he wants to but he's creating chances for others." Villas-Boas will once again be without a number of key players for tomorrow's game. Emmanuel Adebayor will watch from the stands as he begins a three-match suspension while long-term absentees Scott Parker, Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto remain sidelined. Playmaker Mousa Dembele made his recovery from a month-long hip injury layoff against Lazio but is unlikely to start tomorrow. "The injury is OK, but I don't think I can play all game," the Belgian said.
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