Tottenham Hotspur are in a superb position to target the Champions League heading into the new season.
That’s always going to be the aim for the club and despite the calls from Brad Friedel for silverware next season, any Spurs fan would probably sacrifice it all just to get into the top four.
Spurs are still haunted by the fact they narrowly missed out to Arsenal for fourth place last season, but that seems to have given the players a deep, entrenched determination to make sure there is no repeat.
“There's no hiding that the end of last season was a massive disappointment. To have finished with 72 points, a Tottenham record, and yet missed out on the Champions League, our target back at the start of the season,” said captain Michael Dawson.
Tottenham now know what it takes to maintain a high level of performance over a very long season and that is definitely something they can work to their advantage.
There were times last season where the performance levels of the side dipped but those periods can be studied and the side can make sure they are in a better position to tackle the common problems most sides face over long campaigns.
Spurs are also greatly boosted by the fact Gareth Bale is staying at the club, which takes care of one main attacking position that would have been the mother of all migraines to sort out had Bale left.
They are under pressure to get into the top four to retain Bale again next summer, but their chances of doing just that are undoubtedly better now that Bale is staying with the side.
The trick for the Welshman is to replicate the sort of form that he showed last season because teams will challenge him with new systems and different tactics designed to mute his influence in key matches.
“To keep hold of Gareth, a world-class player who had such an incredible season last year, while also bringing others in will only stand us in good stead. It changes the whole mood around the place,” he added.
The manager is also very significant because he has had the experience of a full Premier League season, his tactics will be more finely tuned and he still has plenty of time to draft in players that will push the team on.
Paulinho is a quality signing but Andre Villas-Boas needs to carry on working hard to bring in attacking talent, which is going to take some of the pressure away from Bale and also compensate for the chance he may get injured or suspended.
AVB is a very young, charismatic and passionate manager and he’s in a good position with three of the top four sides having changed their bosses from the end of last season.
Write Spurs off if you like, but they’re looking immensely strong for a top four slot next season and with further signings to come, their chances of getting into the Champions League will only get better.
Are Spurs in just as good a position, if not better, as any other team aiming for the top four?
image: © Vladimir Maiorov