Harry Redknapp reckons it would take a "miracle" for Tottenham to qualify for next year's Champions League after admitting that Gareth Bale will play no part in the club's tricky run-in.
Bale will have a scan on the left ankle that he injured against Blackpool this afternoon, with Redknapp admitting that the Welshman could have suffered ligament damage that may require an operation.
Bale's pace and penetration will be hugely missed by the Londoners, who need to win all three of their remaining games against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Birmingham to have any chance of bringing Champions League football to White Hart Lane for a second successive season.
Spurs head to fourth-place City tomorrow knowing that only a win will keep them in the hunt for a top-four finish.
Tottenham's current plight is completely different from the turn of the year when they seemed certain to pip their big-spending rivals to fourth position.
With City facing Stoke and Bolton after Saturday's FA Cup final, Redknapp admits the dream of playing among Europe's elite is all but over.
"It will take a miracle (to finish fourth)," Redknapp said. "(City manager) Roberto Mancini has got a fantastic squad. They're in a great position. They are six points ahead of us and they have a better goal difference by miles."
Tottenham are currently in the midst of their worst run of the season, with just one win coming from their last nine Barclays Premier League matches.
On Saturday Blackpool joined the long list of teams from the bottom half of the table that have taken points away from White Hart Lane this year.
Had Spurs beaten, rather than drawn with, the Tangerines, West Brom and West Ham, they would have been level with City ahead of tomorrow's game at Eastlands, where they secured Champions League qualification last year in the penultimate game of the season.
Injuries to key players like Bale and Tom Huddlestone, and Rafael van der Vaart's loss of form have all contributed to the club's recent slump, according to Redknapp.
"When we've needed that little bit of magic in the last month or six weeks, Gareth has been injured and we've lost that little spark that turns draws into wins," the Spurs boss added.
"Gareth and Rafa were so good, they were the difference between drawing and losing. They were turning games with fantastic individual performances as well as the team playing well."
A run of four wins from their last six matches saw Spurs overcome the odds and beat City to the last Champions League qualification spot last season.
City responded by handing Mancini a huge war chest to sign the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Edin Dzeko.
Redknapp thinks the Lancashire club's spending power means it will only be a matter of time before they win the title.
"I don't see what will stop them," Redknapp said. "They will keep improving their squad until eventually they will win the championship."
Spurs attempted to break their own transfer record to bring in a marquee signing this January.
The club were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts to sign strikers Sergio Aguero, Giuseppe Rossi and Diego Forlan, but Redknapp has repeatedly said that he will be back in the market for one or two world-class additions this summer.
He also admitted that he will not just be looking for a frontman, saying: "We know what we are looking for. It's not just strikers who score. We haven't got goals from elsewhere really. We haven't got the goals from the middle of the park or the wide positions like we can."
Redknapp will attempt to move on the likes of Robbie Keane, Giovani Dos Santos and David Bentley this summer despite them failing to impress at their temporary clubs.
Van der Vaart had been mentioned as another potential sale, but Redknapp says the Dutchman is going nowhere.
"There's no truth that we want to part with him," Redknapp said.
"He's done great for us although he has tapered off after a hard season."Reuse content