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Premier League Preview: Tottenham v Cardiff City

Tottenham aim to buck a trend of poor results after European games when Cardiff City visit White Hart Lane in the Premier League on Sunday.

In the nine league matches that have immediately followed a UEFA Europa League tie this season, Spurs have taken just 10 points, losing on five occasions, including the 5-0 reverse at home to Liverpool in December that eventually cost Andre Villas-Boas his job.

Tim Sherwood took the reins thereafter and his side have lost just twice in 11 league matches since then.

Thursday night saw Spurs come from two goals down in the tie against Dnipro to eventually prevail 3-2 on aggregate and progress to the last 16 of the competition, but Sherwood and his players hold loftier ambitions for next season.

A win against Cardiff is crucial if Tottenham are to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish and qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Spurs are currently fifth, six points adrift of Liverpool, and Christian Eriksen, who scored the first goal in Thursday’s comeback win, knows the importance of Sunday’s game.

“We need to continue winning to get closer to what we want next season, which is the Champions League,” he told the club’s official website.

“It’s my first season in the Premier League and I can see how close all the teams are.

“There are no easy games, but we have to try and make this one by scoring goals again.”

One of Tottenham’s wins following a European tie did come in the reverse fixture, when Paulinho’s stoppage-time goal sealed a 1-0 victory in Wales.

Cardiff, in the bottom three, desperately need to find form to avoid an instant return to the Championship.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cardiff have picked up just four points from seven Premier League outings and the Norwegian insists his players are fully aware of the perilous position they find themselves in.

“When you get disappointing results you regroup, correct mistakes, work hard and get a response and I have this week,” he said.

“We know where we are. We are in this situation with other teams. Some have had a good run, but they are still in it.

“We have not had results we deserve, but we are still in with a chance.”

Jermain Defoe has this week left Tottenham to formally join Toronto, while Danny Rose (knee) Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (thigh) remain doubts.

Gary Medel and Jordon Mutch are thought to be in contention for Cardiff after recovering from knocks, with Craig Bellamy available again after serving a three-match suspension.

Fri 28 February, 2014
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