Spurs star: Defeat at Chelsea could finish our top four challenge
TOM Huddlestone concedes that defeat at Chelsea could finish Tottenham’s hopes of Champions League qualification, making their task “virtually impossible” if Manchester City then beat West Ham at Eastlands.
Spurs trail City by four points as they head to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, and Roberto Mancini’s side host the Hammers, the league’s bottom side, the following day.
Huddlestone admits that the Lilywhites’ failure to beat West Brom on Saturday, coupled with City’s victory at Blackburn on Monday night, means that Tottenham will now have to stay unbeaten until the end of the season.
And the 24-year-old believes that he and his team-mates may need to win four of their final five league fixtures to pip City to the post and win the race for the top.
“We can’t really afford to lose any of the last five games, and we maybe need three or four victories to secure fourth,” said Huddletone. “It’s still all to play for. It was a disappointing result on Saturday but we can’t dwell on that for too long. We’ve got five more cup finals really.
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“Obviously a lot will depend on City. If we lose to Chelsea and City win their next game then it will be virtually impossible, but as long as we’ve still got games to play and it’s mathematically possible then we won’t give up.
“It would be disappointing not to be involved in the Champions League next season. Once you’ve had a taste of it you always want more and you maybe get a bit greedy. I think we’ve shown that we can play and compete at that level, so to not be in it next year would be very disappointing.”
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In order to beat Chelsea on Saturday, Spurs will have to overturn their appalling record at Stamford Bridge – the Lilywhites have not won there since 1990, a run of 23 matches.
“It will be very difficult. Our record’s not the best there but recently at home we’ve done well against them so hopefully we can take that into an away performance,” said Huddlestone.
“Obviously it’s a local derby, and Chelsea are going for the title. Everybody wants to win every game anyway but there’s added pressure on us. A lot of teams have got nothing to play for but ourselves and Chelsea, we’ll have a lot to play for.
“After the second half against Arsenal we were hoping to kick on and maybe gather momentum from that going into the West Brom game. It didn’t quite happen but we didn’t lose the game, it’s another point gained, so hopefully going into the Chelsea game we’ll be on form.”
Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Albion on Saturday also benefited Liverpool, who moved to within three points of Harry Redknapp’s side – albeit having played an extra game.
“Are we worried about them? Not particularly. At this stage we’ve just got to look to fourth,” said Huddlestone. “Fourth is where we want to be, we don’t want to be trying to hang on for fifth position. We’ve got to look upwards.”