But the Black Cats were unable to make it to the break unscathed and the visitors were back in it within six minutes when Paulinho stabbed home from close range from Nacer Chadli’s header back across goal. Paulinho said: “I scored again and I am very happy about getting one more goal. But everybody in the group, my colleagues played very well also.” Spurs needed just five minutes of the second half to wrap up the win when Mousa Dembele powered his way past Jack Colback on the left and then saw his cross cannon off O’Shea and past goalkeeper Vito Mannone. They should really have been out of sight with Jermain Defoe twice hitting the post and firing wide with just Mannone to beat, and they might have been made to pay had referee Lee Mason awarded a 75th-minute penalty after substitute Sandro appeared to block Sebastian Larsson’s corner with his arm. However, he did not and Tottenham managed to see out time with few scares to claim the win. Paulinho has set his sights on Liverpool as Tottenham look to take a decisive step forward in their quest for Champions League football. Press Association The 25-year-old Brazilian scored in Spurs’ 2-1 fightback win at Sunderland on Saturday evening to complete a good week for manager Andre Villas-Boas, who had found himself under pressure in the wake of his team’s 6-0 trouncing at Manchester City last month. A 2-2 home draw with Manchester United and wins at Fulham and on Wearside have more than steadied the ship and left the Londoners just three points adrift of Brendan Rodgers’ second-placed side, who head for White Hart Lane on Sunday. Paulinho told Spurs TV: “It’s a big game at home and we must think that if we play the same as we did against United, we have a big chance to win at home against Liverpool.” Villas-Boas has set his sights on a top-four finish, and is refusing to look any further ahead than that in the wake of an improved run of form. Asked if he may has to re-assess his targets given that Spurs have closed the gap on Liverpool, he replied: “It’s still very compact at the moment. “Arsenal have gone a distance. Obviously Arsenal have three important fixtures in the next games with Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton, but we just want to be near them and get ourselves into the Champions League positions. “At the moment, we are fighting our way back, but we want to be there at the end of the season.” Victory at the Stadium of Light was secured courtesy of John O’Shea’s second-half own goal, although in truth, the visitors should have won far more comfortably. However, they had to come from behind to claim the points after Gus Poyet’s bottom-of-the-table side took the lead after a lukewarm start to the game. Hugo Lloris flapped at Ondrej Celustka’s 37th-minute cross to allow Adam Johnson to slam the loose ball into the top corner.
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure believes their forthcoming must-win Champions League encounter against Basle is made for Steven Gerrard to create “magic” again. And, in light of Rodgers’ judicious use of his 34-year-old captain this season, the Ivorian insists the midfielder’s class is such that he does not need a full match to impact games. “He is a man for great days. He makes the magic when no-one can make it. That is why he is one of the best players in the world,” he said. “His age is nothing. People just keep talking, but if you have a player like that in your dressing room it is very important with his experience. “Players like that don’t need 90 minutes to make the difference – only 20 or 30 minutes – and I am really happy to have him as a captain first and as a man because he is a great player.” Having been frustrated by Sunderland, Toure expects Basle to be more aggressive – even though they need only a draw to progress at Liverpool’s expense. And he admits the Reds will have to be more adventurous than their recent performances – which have all been about regaining some defensive stability. “The team has had to settle defensively first and, because we have been conceding some goals, it was important to get back to basics,” he added. “It has been working well for us but not against Sunderland, but we will take risks against Basle because we have to put them under pressure and win the game. “It is a must-win game – it is like a final. We will take some risks to win the game. “I think tactically they will be better than Sunderland, and going forward they are going to be dangerous as they have quick and intelligent players.” The Reds captain will return to the starting line-up on Tuesday having been rested in Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Sunderland. Brendan Rodgers’ side have to beat the Swiss to progress to the knockout stage, and Toure reckons Gerrard is the man who can really make a difference. Press Association
Meanwhile last years Young Hurler of the Year Cathal Barrett is still an injury worry for the Tipp camp – the Holycross – Ballycahill player injured his shoulder last April at a training camp in Spain.Manager Eamon O’Shea is very unsure of his participation on Sunday, rating him at 50/50.Throw-in at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday is at 4 o’clock and Tipp FM will have full live coverage in association with Mulcahy Car Sales, Ardcroney, Nenagh. The Premier County face Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday with John Bubbles O’Dwyer a possible doubt.The All Star winner is understood to have sustained an ankle injury during a training camp at Carton House over the weekend.The 23 year old Killenaule clubman is to undergo a scan on the injury.