Tottenham season will be a failure if Champions League qualification is not secured admits Clint Dempsey

Spurs exited the Europa League last night

Clint Dempsey admits Tottenham's season should be judged as a failure if they do not bounce back from their Europa League exit by finishing in the Barclays Premier League's top four.

Dempsey scored twice last night in Basle, but it was not enough to send Spurs through to the semi-finals of Europe's second-tier competition as Andre Villas-Boas' men suffered a dramatic defeat on penalties.

While the 4-1 shootout loss - which came after missed spot-kicks from Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor - is disappointing for Villas-Boas, who has staked so much on winning the competition, it does give Spurs a chance to focus all their efforts on their attempt to qualify for the Champions League.

For despite all their heroics last night, it is plain to see that, on current form, Spurs look set to fail to qualify for the biggest club competition in Europe once again.

Tottenham will drop to fifth if Arsenal win their game in hand against Norwich tomorrow, and, given that they held a seven-point advantage over their rivals last month, Dempsey thinks the team have no excuses if they fail to reach the objective that was asked of them when Villas-Boas arrived at the club last summer.

"We're frustrated we're not in this competition any more, but we have to regroup and we have to focus on the league," the United States forward said.

"We have to make sure we finish in fourth place and make sure we're in the Champions League next year.

"That's the only thing we can do to salvage this season and say we had a good year. That's been the goal for the season.

"It's important that we get into the Champions League."

As Villas-Boas acknowledged in February, failure to qualify for the Champions League could have serious consequences for Spurs.

Tottenham's new year financial results showed a 12 per cent drop in revenue, but the biggest problem caused by another year of failure could be the potential loss of star man Gareth Bale.

A 10-day break until their next game against Manchester City - when Villas-Boas expects Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe to be fit again - will work in Tottenham's favour, but Dempsey has warned his team-mates they still must work extremely hard to make the top four.

"The break will help, because the more players you have fit, the more competition there is for spots," he added.

"You need that push towards the end because it's going to be difficult.

"We've got some difficult games. We've got Chelsea, we've got Man City, so we're going to need everyone fit and fighting to try to push for that Champions League.

"It's not going to be given to you. You have to fight until the end and we're still in with a shout to make that happen.

"I think it's going to come down to the last game."

The way Tottenham coped with the immense pressure on them last night bodes well for them for the rest of the season.

Amid a hostile atmosphere caused by the raucous home crowd at St Jakob-Park, Spurs looked comfortable on the ball and Dempsey gave them a first-half lead when he beat Yann Sommer after Jan Vertonghen had sliced open the Basle defence.

A mistake by Mousa Dembele allowed Mohamed Salah to equalise and Aleksandr Dragovic put Basle ahead before Dempsey struck again eight minutes from time to send the game in to extra time with the tie locked at 4-4 on aggregate.

Vertonghen's red card meant Tottenham had to play the whole of extra time with 10 men on a boggy pitch which had been hammered by rain, and Dempsey was extremely proud of his team-mates' efforts.

"We gave everything we could," the 30-year-old said.

"The boys were dead when it came to penalties. We came up a little bit short. We were a little bit unlucky.

"Everyone's upset with the result but we'll have to regroup and focus on the league."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future