Spurs can succeed where Villa failed, insists ex-England defender Southgate
Gareth Southgate believes Tottenham are genuine contenders for the Barclays Premier League – unlike his Aston Villa side in 1998.
Spurs moved level on points with second-placed Manchester United after beating Everton 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.
And former England defender Southgate is confident they have the quality to maintain their title challenge.
In the running: Tottenham moved level with Manchester United this week
'I’m amazed that they’ve stayed under the radar as long as they have,' he told Sportsmail.
'Their opening game was cancelled and they had the difficulty with the Luka Modric scenario at the start of the season.
If you look at their record since they brought Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor in, they’ve probably got more points than any other team.
'They’ve got a strong squad. I think their front six are as dangerous and as prolific as anything else in the league so I think they’re real, serious contenders.'
Villa stunned the Premier League by reaching the Premier League summit by Christmas 1998 but a mid-season slump saw them slip to sixth come May.
And Southgate is confident Spurs are in a much better position to challenge for the title.
False dawn: Gareth Southgate helped Aston Villa to the top of the league
'At Villa we weren’t able to deal with the pressure,' he admitted. 'We didn’t have the strength in depth and teams worked us out. It’s interesting to watch Manchester City in that respect because teams are dropping off and allowing them to have possession in their own half.
'That puts a lot of pressure on the likes of David Silva to break them down and teams may start to do the same with Tottenham.
'It was a massive disappointment to fall away as we did but I don’t think we ever felt we had the squad to keep it going.
'When things are going so well you think you’re in with a chance but we didn’t seriously have the backup. Within a period of two to three weeks we went from being two points in front to six points behind.
'This is a little bit different; you’ve got three very strong clubs and Arsenal and Chelsea will take points off them. It's very healthy for the league to have a new contender for the title.'
With both Manchester clubs playing in the Europa League, they will be playing catch-up for as long as they remain in the competition.
Up for the cup: Southgate was in London to launch the Carlsberg Pub Cup
That, along with the absence of City stars Yaya Toure (Africa Cup of Nations) and Vincent Kompany (suspension) could hand Spurs the advantage.
Southgate added: 'It’s a blow for City to lose Kompany to suspension and to have Yaya Toure missing but the strength in depth of the three sides is quite outstanding.