All is not lost for Spurs
Undefeated since November with 21 wins and two draws in all competitions, Benfica looked highly impressive coming into their last-16 tie against Spurs last night – but the London side’s own crisis of confidence also played a part in the Portuguese side’s impressive victory.
March 14th, 2014
With three away goals secured safely in the overhead lockers for their flight back, Benfica needn’t worry about their next three league points nearly as much as Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood, whose team have now conceded seven goals in the last two matches and appear rather shaky in fifth spot with a match against Arsenal on the docket.
With four points to make up on fourth-placed Man City – and three less games to do it in – Spurs’ rattled players need to make the most of that trip over to the other Stadium of Light next Thursday to soak up as much Europa League football as they can in the hopes of making it back there next year, provided they can hang on to the five-point gap over Man United in sixth and Everton in seventh – and two games less to solidify it over the latter.
Sherwood has already warned his squad that some of them are on borrowed time following the 4-0 drubbing by Chelsea last weekend – though the two late mistakes by Sandro and Walker to allow a Ba brace looked more telling than the 88 minutes played before.
With the Champions League spot drifting further off into the horizon, it’s up to the Tottenham players to realise that all is not yet lost either this season or next. A strong showing in the second leg next Thursday could still act as a warning shot to other sides that they’ll likely be back for more later this year – with a summer transfer window yet to come and the chance to invest in even more talent to push for a Champions League place in the Premier League.
Failing that, under new UEFA rules, winning the Europa League itself next time around will get them there too. But that’s the hard way – for now it’s up to Sherwood and his side to show that they can make it easier on themselves given the right time to settle.