The turnaround in Tottenham Hotspur's season under Tim Sherwood has been sharp.
Despite an apparent failure to return a top four finish, the club can still secure Europa League football for next season - something former Arsenal star believes the manager will want but the club's upper brass will hope to avoid.
Regular competition on a Thursday, that involves away day trips into the far reaches of the continent, can act as a hindrance on a domestic campaign. It was rare for Spurs to compete midweek and then score a weekend Premier League victory. The Lilywhites, therefore, may be better off campaigning on three fronts next season, rather than four, in order to provide themselves with the best chance of fulfilling any top four ambition this time next year.
"Tottenham are probably sitting there thinking 'we don't want to be in the Europa League' and Tim Sherwood will be thinking 'I don't think I'll be here next season so I'll put you in the Europa League!'" commented Paul Merson in his weekly preview column for Sky Sports.
"Tim will be running around the pitch clapping after the game and saying 'look what I've done' and the directors will be thinking that's their top-four chances done for next season!"
Tottenham take on Aston Villa on Sunday, a side who have not triumphed over Spurs in their last ten Premier League attempts (drawing three and losing seven). Victory will ensure the club emulate their highest amount of tallied wins, 21, which they accomplihed in 2009-10 and 2012-13.
"I think Tim has done great and despite a bad result last week he will want to finish on a high," commented Merson.
"Villa look shot after staying up and they had to work very hard against Man City on Wednesday night. Tottenham should win."