Premier League

AVB: Only top four will do

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Sat, 30 Mar 2013 11:39:00

Daniel Sturridge has been urged to learn from Liverpool strike partner Luis Suarez by manager Brendan Rodgers.

Suarez hit the headlines for the wrong reasons once again this week after an altercation with Chile defender Gonzalo Jara while on international duty for Uruguay.

But Rodgers believes Sturridge, a January signing from Chelsea, can learn from the desire and defensive commitment Suarez shows for the Reds.

"For me the striker drives the train, and when you look at the history of this club, men like Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Robbie Fowler worked incredibly hard," said Rodgers.

"Luis does that too. He is a great leader, the way he presses up there. He has an absolutely amazing appetite for the game.

"Daniel's only just come to the club and it's a new way of working for him. But it's so important because when you don't have the pressure up top, the gaps open up.

"He's only 23 and knows he needs to improve, but he's a real receptive boy, and he can't have anyone better to learn from than Luis."

Spurs have spent much of the 2012/13 campaign in and around the Champions League places, but have work to do if they are to get over that particular line.

With North London rivals Arsenal breathing down their neck, and with Merseyside duo Everton and Liverpool still in the hunt, Villas-Boas knows his side have little margin for error.

He hopes past disappointments will not come back to haunt Tottenham and concedes that if they were to suffer a late drop down the standings, it would be difficult to argue that he has taken things forward.

Villas-Boas, who replaced Harry Redknapp in the White Hart Lane hot-seat last summer, said: "The circumstances, players, leaders, training are different. So at this moment, it has nothing to do with past experiences.

"Obviously it can happen. We have to reflect on it like on the late goals we suffered this season. The more you work on it the more you will get out of it. It has happened before, but it doesn't mean it will happen again.

"Our ultimate objective is Champions League qualification. If we don't achieve it we have to consider what has been achieved this season as steps forward, which are positive for the club and the team going forward, bearing in the mind the players the team lost.

"But it's not up to me to judge. If you want to move forward, you move forward by qualifying for the Champions League."

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