At this point in the season, the surest way to miss out on the Champions League is to get complacent. Second place is 5 points away. Let's take it.
At the beginning of the season if someone had offered Spurs a fourth place finish, most of us would have jumped at the chance. And rightfully so. But it's not the beginning of the season anymore. We're 28 games in and we've got the most points we've ever accumulated and are currently on the longest unbeaten run we've ever had in the Premier League era. Fourth place is not a trophy. So why are we settling for it?
Most of you are probably thinking that third place would be great. It's not essential, but it'd be nice. Maybe we can't hold on to it, but even if we slip a little bit, finishing in fourth is no big deal. We still get to play in the Champions League.
But we saw last year what can happen when this team gets complacent. Everyone felt like third place and Champions League was assured before the job was done. Ten points clear of Arsenal? Mind the gap! And as our season slowly collapsed around us, we comforted ourselves with the consolation that at least we could still finish 4th. And ultimately we were left with nothing.
Right now Chelsea's two points behind us. Arsenal's seven. Everton and Liverpool are just behind them. It doesn't even matter. This is not the time to look over our shoulders and wonder if someone's going to catch us when we slip. It's time to stop looking backwards.
We need to get out of the mentality that our goal is to stay ahead of the teams behind us. A slip up here and there is ok if we still stay in fourth place? No. Wrong. That's loser talk.
We should be constantly looking up the table. When we were in fifth place, nobody cared how far ahead of West Brom we were. All we cared about was how many points we needed to take fourth. That shouldn't go away. Forget about our point cushion. Fuck cushions. How far away is second?
This team needs something to strive for. Something to fight for. All season long. There is no room for anybody to feel secure with what we have. As soon as we do that, we allow ourselves to rationalize it when we slip up. And suddenly we're slipping out of the Top Four and back into the Europa League.
There is no breathing room. There is only what's next.
Manchester City are only 5 points ahead of us and they still have to come to White Hart Lane. If we beat them, we only need to better their result once more and second place is ours.
They've got world class players? We've got world class players. We've got the best goddamn player in the league. They're the ones who should be scared. We're the form team. They lost to Southampton a month ago.
Yes, we have a tough run in. Their's ain't no picnic either. They have to go to Goodison and Old Trafford. Host Newcastle and West Brom. Take on relegation scrappers Wigan and Reading as they fight for survival. Man City are going to drop points.
All season long we've fought and clawed our way up the table. We've taken fourth. We've taken third. It's time to take second.