Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that Tottenham Hotspur have ‘a real shot’ of finishing in the top four of the Premier League this season, but only if they do not take the Europa League seriously.
‘I think they have a real shot of the top four but I guess their hopes could depend on how seriously Pochettino takes the Europa League’, the 36-year-old ex-England international told Sky Sports.
‘He didn’t seem too interested with the cups at Southampton and if he takes the same approach at Tottenham and focuses on the Premier League, Champions League football is not out of reach’.
What Carragher says will be echoed by many Tottenham fans. After all, it is the North London club’s long-term ambition to make themselves a regular in the Champions League, and that can be achieved only by breaking into the top four.
Or maybe there is another way...
The winners of this season’s Europa League stand a chance of playing in the 2015-16 Champions League campaign. They will enter at least the playoff round, and will book their place in the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League title holders is not used.
However, the Europa League, like the Champions League, is a cup competition and a single mistake could prove costly. Even if Tottenham reach the final, a moment’s lapse of concentration could be enough to see their hard work over the course of the season go to waste.
Tottenham need to focus on the Premier League more than the Europa League. With two wins out of two, they have already given themselves an advantage over rivals Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Of course, Spurs should still try to go as far as possible in the Europa League as they have a large-enough squad to do so, but manager Mauricio Pochettino would be better off getting the best out of his players in the league.