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Sherwood admits Europa League qualification could hurt Spurs

Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Thursday, April 17, 2014
2:43 PM

Tim Sherwood admits the Europa League could undermine Tottenham’s top-four challenge next season, but he says he has no intention of dropping points in a bid to avoid qualification.

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The sixth-placed Premier League team will be given a spot in Europe’s second-tier tournament, while the seventh-placed side may also be handed a place in the competition if Arsenal win the FA Cup and finish fifth.

Sherwood concedes it might be better for Tottenham to miss out, but he remains keen to win his last four games of the season.

“It gives you extra games, but we’re just focused on trying to keep ourselves as high up the league as possible,” he said.

“I know where you are coming from - people say that if you have less games you have more chance of emulating Liverpool this year.

“The stats don’t lie, it certainly is a benefit [not to qualify]. But I’m sure that everyone at this club wants to finish as high up as possible and we are certainly not going to go onto the field now with four games to go and try and lose a game so that we don’t qualify. That’s just is not going to happen.

“I’m not against it [the Europa League], it’s just the stats that are there say everything.

The extra games meant I think we’ve ended up playing 12 more games than Liverpool this season and they’re challenging for the title because they didn’t have the Europa League.

“Is that why or is it because they’ve got a world-class striker like Luis Suarez that they managed to keep hold of? That always a factor.

“It certainly helps when you have a whole week to prepare for games. There is no guarantee, you still need good player to keep yourself challenging.”

While Liverpool still have Suarez, Tottenham sold their superstar Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in the summer, and he showed his old club what they are missing last night with a sensational winner against Barcelona as the Galacticos won the Copa Del Rey.

Sherwood said: “It was business as usual for Gareth Bale. We saw what he did last year - he scored 21 goals for Tottenham, nine assists, he scored a winner in eight of our games. We could do with him now by the way.

“If you put those that he accumulated last year on top of what we’ve got we’d probably be challenging for the title. The two best players on the pitch last night were Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, and that says everything.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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