André Villas-Boas expects Manchester United to stretch Chelsea

• Spurs manager predicts no slacking from the champions
• He also fancies QPR to lift their performance against Arsenal

Sir Alex Ferguson is not normally accused of doing Rafael Benítez favours and André Villas-Boas, for one, does not expect that to change on Sunday.

Some Tottenham Hotspur fans fear that the fact Manchester United have already secured the title means they will not be sufficiently focused for their Premier League game with Chelsea on Sunday, giving Benítez's team an advantage over Spurs in the battle for Champions League qualification. However, Villas-Boas says he does not envisage Ferguson fielding a weakened or under-motivated team.

"[Ferguson] is an extremely competitive manager so I have no doubts about what he does," Villas-Boas said. "We saw an example of that against Arsenal last week and I don't think United will be doing anything differently against Chelsea, particularly after being knocked out of the FA Cup by them."

Villas-Boas's confidence in United's willingness to compete comes partially from his own experience. "It happened to me in Porto, when we won the league five weeks before the end so we went for the record number of points and we equalled it so maybe United can find another objective. Anyway, players who win titles have a great winning mentality and want to win every single game so I expect Chelsea to have a very difficult game and Manchester United to be at the top of theirs."

More optimistically, he anticipates Queens Park Rangers to lift their performances and pose a problem to Arsenal, Spurs' other rival for the top four. "Harry [Redknapp] wants to continue to compete and QPR players will probably play without pressure so you never know, that may help them to be more competitive."

Tottenham lie fifth on 62 points, eight short of the best tally they achieved under Redknapp, which is the target that Villas-Boas set at the start of the season. Chelsea and Arsenal are pressing so hard, however, that he is no longer sure that amount would be enough to emulate Redknapp's feat of reaching the Champions League in 2010.

"If we get 70 points we equal Harry's season of three years ago, which is extremely difficult to get," he said. "It's a good tally of points but it might mean you finish away from the objective. It shows how competitive the others have become too and how well the others have done."

Attaining the total will likely entail beating Southampton at home on Saturday before Spurs travel for Wednesday's Stamford Bridge showdown with Chelsea. Villas-Boas is hopeful that Mouse Dembélé will return from injury for those games but must decide whether the Belgian replaces Tom Huddlestone, who has made a key contribution in recent weeks after a change in formation by Villas-Boas. "[Huddlestone] has been tremendous. His impact against Manchester City was outstanding and he controlled our passing against Wigan from a deep position.

"We have to make a choice between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 for the game against Southampton. Either way Tom has already played a 4-4-2 when Dembélé was injured to great effect. In the end you have to adapt sometimes. We have great comfort in 4-4-2 and great results and that limits it to two positions in midfield where we used Sandro and Dembélé in the beginning, then Parker and Dembélé. What we will play against Southampton and Chelsea depends."

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