Tottenham winger Andros Townsend believes 'team of stars' will carry Spurs to genuine Premier League title contenders this season

Townsend feels that the departure of Gareth Bale has forced the squad to become 'more of a team'

Andros Townsend has claimed that Tottenham are genuine title contenders this season due to Gareth Bale’s departure from the club, meaning that the remaining players have had to become “more of a team” in order to succeed.

Spurs sit fourth heading into this weekend’s action, although they are level on points with second-placed Chelsea ahead of the visit of Newcastle to White Hart Lane. Manager Andre Villas-Boas has come under early criticism from some fans after spending over £100m on new players following the world-record transfer of Bale to Real Madrid, with slip-ups against Arsenal and West Ham as well as dropping points at Goodison Park against Everton on Sunday.

The Welshman’s 26 goals last season led to his £86m transfer to Spain, with Villas-Boas bringing in Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Ethienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches, and Townsend believes the new crop of players give the club a greater strength in depth compared to last season.

“Last season Gareth Bale was the star; this season we have a team of stars,” Townsend told the Evening Standard.

“We made seven top signings in the summer and we’re more well-rounded. We can play two sides – one in the league and then make eight or nine changes for a cup game.

“Is it realistic to aim for the title? I can’t see why not. We’re in touching distance of the top and we’re still fighting for that top space. Four of the top six changed manager in the summer but we’ve kept continuity and that gives us a massive chance this year.

“Last season, we looked to Gareth a lot, but this year we’ve got great depth in our squad. The squad will come into it more between January and March and hopefully that depth will give us the upper hand.”

Spurs have not won the title since 1961 but Townsend insisted: “We’re making ourselves hard to beat and the main thing this year is that we’re a team.

“We’ve just got to have the belief to stay up there. We’ve made a good start and now it’s up to us to continue that and not let the expectation get to us. Arsenal are in fantastic form but I’m sure the Manchester clubs and Chelsea will hit a purple patch, and it’s up to us to stay with them.”