Rafael van der Vaart has thrown down the gauntlet to his Tottenham midfield teammates ahead of their trip to Manchester City.

The Dutchman feels that's where the game will be won.

He explained: "The key to victory will be in the midfield. I ­expect there will be a ­massive battle with Silva. Samir Nasri is also a ­talented player, while there is ­defensive cover from players like ­Gareth Barry and Nigel De Jong.

"They have spent so much money and we have such a huge challenge on our hands.

"But if we can get control of that area we can stop them ­attacking fluently.

"And if we do that, then we can hit them on the counter-attack, where we can be so ­devastating, as we have shown."