• Beating the leaders, Chelsea, could lift Spurs into 'the elite'
• Spurs manager denies win would be pay-back for sacking
André Villas-Boas will relish the chance to guide Tottenham Hotspur into the top four of the Premier League with a victory over his former club Chelsea at White Hart Lane in the next round of fixtures.
After watching his players secure a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday, the Spurs manager reflected on the growing assurance and consistency that his team had shown in a run of four league victories in succession which has lifted them to fifth in the table.
Villas-Boas, who was sacked by Chelsea last March after eight months as their manager, maintained that the game against them on Saturday week meant nothing on a personal level and would not offer him the opportunity to prove any sort of point.
But he could not mask the relish that he had for the challenge, which will come after the international break and could see Tottenham, after their historic win at Manchester United on the Saturday before last, make a statement about their ambitions.
"It's not on an individual sense that I'm looking forward to the match, it's on a collective level," he said. "When you play the unbeaten leaders of the league, you can use that motivation towards the game. It will give us a chance to finally break into the top four and join the elite of the Premier League. That's what we've been wanting for quite some time.
"Chelsea are a tremendous attacking force, something that is surprising everybody. There are a lot of creative players in that team offering all types of solutions, movements.
"We understand this mobility behind Fernando [Torres] can cause you problems. It is going to be a difficult game but we are showing a good level of competence. We hope to profit from the fact that we are playing at home and against an unbeaten league leader."
Villas-Boas' first three games in charge of Tottenham yielded only two points, but since the fixtures began to come thicker and faster after the early September international break and with the team also competing in the Europa League, they have been able to generate momentum.
"After the first three games, we welcomed the packing of fixtures," he said. "It allowed the players to meet each other, to play more often. We are getting a benefit from that. Tiredness comes in but it gives you more chance to know how others behave. For almost a new team, it helps the players.
"It was extremely good against Villa after the effort we put in against Panathinaikos in Greece on Thursday. We were back at 4am on Friday and the players are responding to the midweek physical effort with tremendous power. The ambition that we have, to be in between the top teams, is immense."