Villas-Boas: Top four is main goal
Andre Villas-Boas hailed his Tottenham history makers at Old Trafford on Saturday night - but ruled out a tilt at the ultimate prize.
Clint Dempsey's second-half goal ultimately proved to be the matchwinner as Tottenham emerged from a second-half pummeling to secure a 3-2 victory at Manchester United, who have now fallen four points behind league leaders Chelsea.
It was the first time Spurs had won at United since 1989 and Villas-Boas said: "We wrote history for our team. The players really felt they could nick a win here and the overall performance was an expression of that desire and ambition, though in different ways. In the first half, we attacked and kept the ball. In the second, we defended."
However, in the aftermath of such a momentous performance, Villas-Boas refused to talk of his team as potential league champions, something Spurs have not achieved since 1961.
"I don't think so," he said. "A couple of days ago, we were exactly the opposite. This is a very special night for us but our quest is to qualify for the Champions League.
"It is very difficult to go for the title. We understand it is a place where the great teams of this country belong. We want to win a trophy this season - and we want Champions League qualification."
Victory was not achieved without a struggle, even after Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale had put Tottenham into a deserved lead at the break. The response was immediate, as substitute Wayne Rooney crossed for Nani to halve the defecit, then Robin van Persie set up Shinji Kagawa to end a breathless spell of three goals in four minutes.
However, Dempsey's tap-in ensured the visitors still had their noses in front, and Villas-Boas said: "At half-time we knew we weren't going to get out of Old Trafford without a fight. Last season I was in charge of a Chelsea team that was 3-0 up against United and didn't win. That is an example of what they can do."
Even though Bale had only trained once this week due to the effects of a virus, Tottenham's battling qualities came to the fore. And after Van Persie had wasted an outstanding chance and both Rooney and Michael Carrick had struck the frame of Brad Friedel's goal, Spurs held on for a famous win.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: "We lost the first goal by not defending properly. They got a lucky break when the ball came off Jonny Evans, nonetheless, you can't allow the left-back to get as far as that. It was a poor start and from then on, we were against the wind until half-time came along and we were able change things a bit."
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