Tottenham Hotspur’s European adventure is over, after the Premier League side crashed out of the Europa League to Benfica on Thursday.
Spurs drew 2-2 in the Estadio da Luz but lost 5-3 on aggregate as Tim Sherwood’s team battled hard to no avail in Lisbon.
Benfica took an early 1-0 lead courtesy of Ezequiel Garay’s header as Spurs had to score four times to advance. They bagged two with 10 minutes to go, as a late rally threatened to take the tie to extra time with Nacer Chadli scoring twice in a minute. However Gylfi Sigurdsson’s saw an effort saved in stoppage time and Benfica won a last gasp penalty and Lima scored to make it 2-2 and go through to the final eight of the Europa League.
What now for Spurs? It’s all about an improbable charge for the top four, as Sherwood’s men seek to chase down the leading pack with a rousing finish to the season. In many ways reaching the Europa League quarterfinals last season hindered the North London clubs surge to reach the top four, but this season going out a round earlier may not be a bad thing.
However with eight games to go Spurs are seven points off fourth-placed Manchester City… and they’ve played three games more than the Citizens. More than likely they will finish fifth, for the second-straight season, and have once again come close, but not close enough, to doing something special in Europe.
With no silverware added to the White Hart Lane trophy cabinet since a League Cup under Juande Ramos in 2008, are Spurs fans content to keep trying to break in the top four and leaving other competitions as an afterthought?
Winning the FA Cup, Europa League and even the League Cup should be a priority for Tottenham next year. After all, don’t they enter all these competitions to win them, and not to finish fifth?