Crouch: Pressure is on City
Peter Crouch insists all the pressure is on Manchester City in the race for fourth despite Tottenham’s failure to draw level with their rivals.
Spurs sit two points behind City with five matches remaining after Wednesday night’s pulsating 3-3 draw with Arsenal at White Hart Lane.
A win against their neighbours would have drawn Tottenham level with Roberto Mancini’s men, who have their tails up after dumping Manchester United out of the FA Cup last weekend.
With Liverpool seemingly out of the hunt for fourth, the battle for the final Champions League qualification position mirrors last year’s contest – when Spurs overtook their rich north-west rivals by claiming four wins from their last six games, with one of those victories coming at Eastlands.
With Mancini having parted with over £150million to help him succeed where he failed last year, Crouch feels the onus is on the Italian and his team rather than Spurs.
"They’re under more pressure than we are," Crouch said.
"That doesn’t make us have any less desire to get in there but we have probably got a bit more freedom than them.
"There is pressure on us too, though, because we’ve loved every minute of being in the Champions League this year. It’s been fantastic.
"That’s what we want next season. We’ve proved we can play against the best and that’s where we want to be again next year."
Crouch’s tap-in at Eastlands in Tottenham’s penultimate game of last season ensured that Spurs would dine at Europe’s top table for the first time since 1962.
He admits that Spurs’ visit to Eastlands on May 10 this year may prove to be decisive in this season’s battle for a lucrative place in the Champions League.
"I hope it comes down to that match again. I enjoyed that last year, it was great," Crouch added.
"It will be like a cup final in many ways.
"This year they will be trying all out. I don’t think they’ll maybe go as easy as they did last year. We were fantastic there last year and hopefully we can repeat that."
Crouch admits Wednesday night’s draw all but ends Arsenal’s hopes of winning the Premier League now that they are six points behind leaders Manchester United.
The England striker has title ambitions of his own, which match those of Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp.
Redknapp believes his side’s credentials have been shown in Europe this year, when they beat AC Milan and Inter Milan on the way to making it into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Spurs have beaten Arsenal and Liverpool in the league this year but have thrown away points by losing to the likes of Wigan, Blackpool, West Ham and Bolton.
With fixtures against the Tangerines, Birmingham and West Brom on Saturday to come before the end of the season, Crouch admits Spurs must become more clinical when facing teams they are expected to beat.
"It looks like Arsenal’s title challenge is over but I’m not worried about Arsenal, I’m worried about us, as our main objective is to get fourth," Crouch said.
"Against the top teams we’ve been magnificent for a couple of years but to have any aspiration of winning the league, you have to make sure you win games against lower teams in the division.
"We’ve slipped up a few times this season. They’re the most frustrating ones to have dropped. On the big occasion and big games we’ve proved we can play against anyone."
On the flip side, the fact that Spurs have raised their game against the bigger teams this year could play into Tottenham’s hands given that they still have to face Chelsea, City and Liverpool.
"That will suit us. We’ll raise our game and get points out of those games and hopefully that will be enough for us," Crouch said.