Tottenham’s defeat at the hands of Leicester City has left the club 16 points off the pace of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. Pep Guardiola’s men have dropped just two points this term and appear to be cruising towards the title. It already looks too much for teams within closer distance of the Citizens to overhaul them at the summit, and an even tougher task for Mauricio Pochettino’s men down outside of the top four. The question should be posed – should Tottenham focus their priorities solely on the Champions League?
When the draw for the group stage was made and Spurs were placed alongside Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, few people gave the club a prayer of reaching the next phase of the competition. However, unless something strange occurs against APOEL in their upcoming clash at Wembley, Pochettino’s men will be heading into the knockout round as winners of Group H. Spurs have notched a home win over holders Real Madrid and triumphs at Wembley and on the road against Dortmund. There’s no reason why they could not do the same against the rest of the elite in the Champions League. The club are backed in the latest football betting odds at 16/1 to win the tournament, giving them a puncher’s chance if they play to their best until the end of May.
Tottenham have dispelled any notion that they would struggle at Wembley – at least in the Champions League – by hammering Dortmund and Real at home. Pochettino used the attacking prowess of his team to catch the two sides out, with Kane putting the German outfit to the sword, while Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen rose to the occasion to defeat the holders. However, the more impressive aspect of Spurs’ group campaign has been their displays on the road. They held their own against Real, claiming a point at the Bernabeu after taking the lead through a Raphael Varane own goal. The club were even better at Signal Iduna Park, despite going behind to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike. Kane and Son Heung-min secured the comeback victory, dropping the strongest signal that Pochettino’s men can compete for the long haul.
Madrid have been the class of Europe for the past two seasons, although in the current campaign they’ve lacked their usual vigour. Dortmund have trailed off after a bright start to the season. Tottenham can be buoyed by their performances against the two sides, but to achieve the ultimate goal they will have to take their game to new heights. With Kane, Alli and Eriksen there is enough talent to win a one-off match against a truly elite side. The defensive resilience provided by Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld along with Hugo Lloris are capable on their day of halting the best of attacking outlets.
Therefore rather than risking his resources on the Premier League, Pochettino should look to save his players for the European campaign. Paris-Saint Germain, Manchester City and Barcelona all look formidable, but Tottenham have proved that they belong amongst the elite teams on the continent. At the least Spurs should be targeting to match their best performance in the competition when they reached the quarter-finals in the 2010/11 season, and have almost a no-lose situation to go out and create history.