After over £100 million worth of expenditure in the transfer market and a strong start to the new season, what should the club be aiming for this term?
It is an exciting time to be a Tottenham fan at the moment, what with the summer splurging in the transfer market and influx of a raft of quality international players to the club. With a young, ambitious manager at the helm, expectations of success at White Hart Lane are growing.
However, it is important to rationalise what would be a successful season for the north Londoners before expectations get carried away. Spurs are playing in the Europa League this season and have the task of making it into the top four to secure Champions League football for next term.
There have been some whispers of a title challenge in the British media and some of the more confident of the club’s fans. Although the strength in depth in the squad is apparent and some of the new faces have the potential to be real stars for the club, it will take time for a new-look side to perform at their best.
It is a transitional period for the club, what with the departure of Gareth Bale also, and as such instant success is probably a tad over-zealous. There will be disappointments along the way as the new players adapt to their new environments and look to gel together. Given the quality and experience of the likes of Manchester United, City, Arsenal and Chelsea, a title challenge looks out of the question.
The Europa League has the potential to be a blessing or a curse, depending on just how far Tottenham can go in it. There is no doubt that winning the competition would be a major achievement and a real source of pride for the club’s supporters. However, getting to the latter stages only to be eliminated can distract energy away from other priorities and lower the team’s chances of a top-four finish domestically.
Andre Villas-Boas is a big fan of the second-tier competition after winning it with Porto, and showed that he intends to take it seriously by fielding strong sides in the tournament last year. However, despite more thorough back-up options allowing him to rotate his starting XI, would Spurs fans be happy with a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League and to win the Europa League?
In the short term, winning the Europa League would be a real success, but for the side to progress in the long-term they need to be playing in the Champions League. As such, when the business end of the season approaches, Villas-Boas should prioritise domestic league games over clashes on the continent in a bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four.
Elimination at the group stages of the Europa League and a fourth-placed finish would arguably be a better result than a fifth-placed finish and success on the continent.
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