Do Spurs 'lack top four mentality' or are they just over-ambitious?

Tim Sherwood Press Conference 12/02/2014

One Tottenham Hotspur legend has listed a number of reasons suggesting a lack of top four mentality, while former Spurs boss says ambitions are unrealistic.

When it comes to the Tottenham Hotspur playing roster, there may be a distinct lack of "top four mentality" because the club have no "swagger" or "continuity", argues former Lilywhite striker Les Ferdinand, a League Cup winner with Spurs in 1999.

There was much optimism surrounding White Hart Lane during pre-season, despite the sale of Gareth Bale. The club had reinvested the world record sum received from the transfer of the Welshman to Real Madrid into the squad, yet Tottenham were only able to return a sixth place finish, banking 69 points after 38 games.

Ferdinand commented on Sky Sports: "When we talk about top four, the problem with Tottenham isn't the players' abilities but the mentality.  When you go to those teams in the top four you need to have a bit of swagger about you - Tottenham need to find that."

The perpetual managerial upheaval, combined with a seemingly unrelenting import/export business, means there is little stability, something Ferdinand also touches on: "Spurs need some continuity. The difficult thing for us is that you're at the club and you've got five months to prove yourself but if people realise you're not going to be there at the end of those five months they no longer need to impress you. They're going to wait for the next manager and make sure they're right to impress the next manager.

"That goes to the support staff as well. I'm not saying anyone let us down but if your mentality is 'a new manager is coming in', whatever the current manager is shouting about you're not going to listen to him are you?"

Andre Villas-Boas' contract was terminated mid-way through the season and was succeeded by Tim Sherwood, who helped steady the Tottenham ship, yet he has also had his 18-month deal terminated.

Sherwood implies that it is not a case of top four mentality, but skewed ambitions.

He said: "At the beginning of the season the aim was to be in the top four and it always is but when you actually analyse the season, taking out Bale with 21 goals, Jermain Defoe with 10 Premier League goals, Clint Dempsey with seven and replacing it with Roberto Soldado and six other players who'd never played in the competition before, realistically the expectation of finishing in the top four was far too great."

Sherwood added: "To actually finish on 69 points, just one win short of our record number of points of 72, which we finished with last season, without one of the best players in the world, it wasn't a bad season."

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