Tottenham Hotspur scored three goals in six second-half minutes to defeat champions Manchester City at White Hart Lane and grab a crucial win in their battle to qualify for the Champions League.

Samir Nasri had City ahead after five minutes but Clint Dempsey's equaliser opened the floodgates.

Substitute Jermain Defoe smashed past Joe Hart before another replacement Tom Huddlestone played in Gareth Bale, who dinked over Joe Hart.

The victory helps Spurs keep the pressure on both Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for the top four, while defeat for City means leaders Manchester United can claim a record 20th league title by beating Aston Villa on Monday.

Jermain Defoe
Defoe struck to put Tottenham ahead

While City were looking to postpone United's coronation as champions, Tottenham required a win to put the pressure on London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea in pursuit of qualification for the Champions League.

Andre Villas-Boas welcomed back Bale from the start but while Defoe began on the bench, Aaron Lennon was missing from the matchday squad once again.

The champions had their own injury problems, with both David Silva and Sergio Aguero, who made the bench, both missing from the start.

But the double absence didn't prevent the visitors from taking the lead inside five minutes as Carlos Tevez dragged Jan Vertonghen out of position in the corner, before flicking the ball into the path of the onrushing Milner, who crossed for Nasri to volley home.

The Frenchman, having netted his first Premier League goal since the opening weekend, was fortunate to stay on the field after a studs-up challenge on Kyle Walker went unpunished by referee Lee Mason.

With the home side offering little in an attacking sense; Emmanuel Adebayor ineffectual in a lone role up front, City were going forward at will with Nasri poking wide from another Tevez pass before Hugo Lloris saved from Edin Dzeko.

Spurs almost reached parity twice in the twilight of the first half as first Dempsey headed over Bale's corner from eight yards out before Matija Nastasic blocked Gylfi Sigurdsson's goal-bound shot in added on time.

Bale's free-kick, which sailed over the bar on the hour mark, worked to define Tottenham's problems in the second half, but the introduction of Lewis Holtby and Huddlestone altered the hosts' shape.

Yaya Toure's snapped volley was one of few openings created by City in the second period and 15 minutes from time they were punished in a devastating six-minute spell.

First Bale's teasing cross found Dempsey ghosting in at the back post to level, before Holtby released substitute Defoe, who hammered past Hart and Huddlestone fed Bale, who chipped in a third.

With Tottenham having won every game in 2013 in which the Welshman had scored, Villas-Boas then knew Spurs were home and dry, as their European hopes were given a major shot in the arm.