Former Premier League stars Matty Etherington and Gary Neville back Spurs for assault on Champions League places

Former Premier League stars Matty Etherington and Gary Neville have backed Tottenham Hotspur for an assault on the Champions League places.

Spurs ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over basement boys Villa on Monday night to edge above rivals West Ham United into fifth place in the Premier League on goal difference.

Mauricio Pochettino has his young side playing some entertaining football and they are now nicely positioned just a couple of points behind third-placed Leicester City.

'Spurs are genuine top four contenders'

Their form has been so impressive that former Spurs winger turned pundit Etherington is backing the North Londoners for a top four spot.

"For me, Spurs do have a realistic chance of getting into the top four this season," Etherington wrote on sports commenting site

"It's hard not to like the way Pochettino has his team playing."

Etherington was not alone in backing Tottenham for big things, though, with Manchester United great Gary Neville in agreement.

The England coach replied to the ex-Stoke City and West Ham winger's post saying: "I agree! Them or Liverpool contest."

No publicity is good publicity

While all the talk this season has been about Slaven Bilic's side launching a surprise bid for a top four spot, Arsenal being in the running for the title and Chelsea struggling, Spurs have been able to quietly go about building some real momentum.

Spurs fans may have felt hard done by to see rivals Arsenal and the Hammers getting all the headlines so far this season it might actually have done them a favour.

The Lilywhites started the season with a defeat, 1-0 to Manchester United, and didn't win a game until September.

But Pochettino has his side looking solid and Spurs haven't lost in the league since that opening day defeat at Old Trafford.

With 20 points from their opening 11 games there is real cause for optimism among the White Hart Lane faithful, particularly with that new stadium in the horizon and one of the Premier League's hottest properties in the managerial hotseat.

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