By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger admits he did not expect Aston Villa to slip up against Tottenham but insists that his side will only qualify for the Champions League if they maintain their own level of performance until the end of the season.

The Gunners finally moved back into the top four after dispatching Blackburn 4-0 on Saturday but they knew that, with Villa still to play on Sunday, the placing might only be temporary.

However, in keeping with their slightly off-colour performances in recent weeks, Martin O’Neill’s men were undone by a goal in each half from Jermaine Jenas and Darren Bent before John Carew hit a late consolation for the Villans.

Although he was pleased by that unexpected ‘bonus’, Wenger is primarily concerned by events at Emirates Stadium.

“I expected us to win our game but to be honest I didn’t expect Villa to lose against Tottenham,” the manager told Arsenal TV Online.

“That was the bonus of the weekend. It puts us in a strong position and it rewards our consistency. We know the key is down to our performances and that is what we want to focus on.

“I watched the [Villa v Spurs] game. When you are in a position where you absolutely have to win the game it makes the game more difficult. When you are 1-0 down that becomes even more difficult.

“Spurs are a good team, they have shown that they can beat anybody in the league on their day. I feel they are improving as a team and that’s why they can make it difficult and I think they have a chance against Chelsea on Saturday.

“But let’s not focus too much on Aston Villa or Everton, let’s focus on our performances. Let's keep our run going - we have created something that can be special.

“Do we keep our performance level up and do we keep our focus [in] every game? In the Premier League that will be needed until the last game of the season.”

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17 Mar 2009