Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood is targeting a final-day win over Aston Villa to ensure the club will be playing Europa League football next season. Press Association Sherwood’s side currently sit sixth in the Barclays Premier League table and go into their last game of the campaign knowing that a point against Villa is enough to keep Manchester United behind them and secure European qualification. With constant speculation over his future, it remains unclear if Sherwood would be the man to lead Tottenham into next season. But the 45-year-old knows that qualifying for the Europa League is something that is of vast importance to a club like Spurs. “It is a huge game,” he said. “We want to finish with maximum points if possible, we know they are going to be tough, they carry a threat on the counter attack and are better away from home than they have been at home. “I will be guaranteeing to our fans that I will be selecting a team that want to play for Tottenham in this last game and want to be playing in the Europa League next season. “I think that is hugely important for a club like Tottenham. Everyone aspires to be in the Champions League but we know how difficult it is to actually achieve that. “We’ve got a big squad of players and when they’re all fit…they need a games programme and I think the Europa League gives them opportunities to play games, keep themselves mentally prepared and physically ready.” Kyle Walker will not feature for Spurs. The England defender will still be hoping to go to the World Cup but a pelvic injury means he is again unavailable to Sherwood this weekend. Winger Andros Townsend (ankle) remains sidelined along with club-record signing Erik Lamela (back) while Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Etienne Capoue (foot) will hope to be involved after returning to training. Meanwhile, Paul Lambert has no idea if he will still be Aston Villa manager next season. Speculation surrounds both his future and that of the club in general, with American owner Randy Lerner rumoured to be considering selling up. Lambert describes Villa’s survival in the Barclays Premier League this season as his greatest managerial achievement following another difficult campaign in his second year at the helm. Last weekend’s victory over Hull secured their top flight place and allowed thoughts to start turning towards next season and beyond. However, Lambert’s most common answer at Friday’s press conference ahead of the trip to Tottenham was “I don’t know” as members of the media grilled him on the future. Asked whether he thinks he will still be at Villa Park next season, Lambert said: “I don’t know. I’ll say it once and once only: I don’t know what the statement from the chairman is going to say. “I don’t know when it’s coming out. I know as much as you do at the minute. But I’ll respect whatever Randy’s got to say. I don’t have one problem. “My job is to keep this club up and protect everybody else and that’s what I’ve done. “I don’t know when it’s going to come out or what’s going to be said. I’ll just see what happens.” He added: “It’s not something Randy and I talk about every minute of every day. We don’t do anything like that. “I know there’s going to be a statement but that’s it. I’m a football manager, not a business person. But it’s his club and he’ll do what he thinks is right for this club.” Lambert believes his reputation has been enhanced during his two years at Villa regardless of what Lerner decides over the future of both the manager and the club in general. “Number one, I fully intend to be here next season. “Number two, my directive was to keep the team in the Premier League. “Number three, it’s been the hardest season ever but it’s never plain sailing in football management and that’s why I say it’s the greatest thing I’ve achieved. “I won promotions at Norwich from League One to the Premier League but I still class this as the best thing I’ve done.” Villa hope striker Gabriel Agbonlahor will be fit for the game. The striker missed the midweek 4-0 defeat at Manchester City with a knee injury but Lambert hopes he will have recovered in time for the trip to north London. Winger Marc Albrighton (groin) is a doubt while the likes of Jores Okore, Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak are still absent with long-term injuries.
“Why shouldn’t I (think I can win the tournament)? I try to believe,” Williams said.“Should I look across the net and believe the person across the net deserves it more? This mentality is not how champions are made. I’d like to be a champion, in particular this year.“The mentality I walk on court with is: I deserve this.”Williams, ranked 17th in the world, will take on fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe for a place in Saturday night’s final in what she said is “a great win for the US”.She beat Russian 24th seed Anastasia Pavyluchenkova in straight sets to make it through.“I’m sure she’s going to want to be in her first final,” the seven-time grand slam winner said.“I’m going to want to be in only my second final here. So it’s going to be a well-contested match.”Vandeweghe, 25, has made consecutive semi-final appearances at the last two US Opens, with her previous best Australian Open showing being a quarter-final berth last year.While she said making it as far as today is “amazing”, she is anything but satisfied.“There’s more things to do out on a tennis court that I’m hoping to achieve.”The pair have only met once, but Vandeweghe echoed Williams’ excitement at sharing the experience with a compatriot.“To play an unbelievable player, future Hall of Famer, Venus, to be on the court with her, I’ve only experienced it one time before,” she said.“To have two Americans against each other in the semi-final I think is pretty cool.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Venus Williams is determined to maintain a champion mindset as she prepares for today’s all-American semi-final at Melbourne Park.The 36-year-old will become the oldest woman to play in an Australian Open semi-final, and the oldest semi-finalist at any grand slam in 23 years.And she won’t be letting anyone tell her she doesn’t deserve to be there.Venus Williams is eyeing her first Australian Open final since she played her sister in 2003. Picture: Wayne Ludbey