Andre Villas-Boas says the time has arrived for Tottenham to 'kick on' and cement their spot in the top four of the table, and earn themselves a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.
Tottenham travel to Sunderland on Saturday fourth in the Premier League, level on points with West Brom and Everton, and three clear of their North London rivals Arsenal who have one game in hand.
Portuguese manager Villas-Boas said: "At the moment everyone is packed together, which is very dangerous.
"What we want to do is have a stronger second half to the season than last year.
"We have to continue our progress to hopefully open a gap between us and the rest of the teams that sit near the top.
"Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will compete for the title between them.
"For the top four Everton are there, Liverpool will come back strongly definitely and there is always a surprise team.
"Last year it was Newcastle, this year it is West Brom. What you want is to finally settle into the top four, opening up some kind of gap if possible."
As for facing the Black Cats, the 35-year-old added: "Their form is improving. They have come out a little bit from that pressure zone and in some ways we would have been better off playing them a couple of weeks ago.
"It is always difficult playing there, particularly when they have just won against the champions. They can't find better inspiration than that.
"We are on a good run but we expect a run for our money, a difficult game."