Andre Villas-Boas believes Tottenham Hotspur need to finish above Arsenal for the first time since 1995 to qualify for next season's Champions League.
The Spurs' boss expects the title to be fought out between Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, leaving the two north London clubs competing for the remaining place in the top four of the English Premier League.
Arsene Wenger's side host Spurs in a derby, with one point separating the teams as there was at the end of last season when Arsenal pipped their rivals to a Champions League place.
Villas-Boas, when asked if Spurs can finish above Arsenal, said: "We have to. It's obvious that Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are into a big run-in towards the title.
"We want to be able to bring one of those spots nearer to us but it's difficult. They have other resources but we are looking at trying to shorten the gap and not let it grow.
"To play for that fourth spot, Champions League qualification, I think it's difficult bearing in mind the amount of competition that you have to beat."
There are three clubs above Spurs and Arsenal in the race for fourth, with Everton, West Brom and West Ham exploiting the London clubs' patchy form, in which both have gone two league games without a win.
"Both teams have been where they want to be, now the position in the league doesn't suit both teams but both have shown that they can do better," Villas-Boas said.
The Portuguese, sacked by Chelsea before they won the Champions League last season, is well aware that more than three points are at stake on Saturday, with Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy reminding him of the importance of the derby.
"He keeps on mentioning it. But it's normal - we really have to embrace it because it's part of the great English culture of this game," Villas-Boas said.
"Against Arsenal, for both teams, it means a lot. You can't wear red in our training ground. The meaning of it is quite special and all of us embrace it.
"This is a game where passion is extremely high. It represents three points but it means more."