Clint Dempsey is glad Tottenham Hotspur have a 10-day break until their next game.
An impressive run in the UEFA Europa League gave the White Hart Lane club high hopes of a first piece of silverware since their League Cup success of 2008, but after a 2-2 draw in Switzerland took them to a penalty shootout against FC Basle, misses from Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor saw them crash out of the competition on Thursday night.
This leaves just a top-four place in the Premier League to play for, as Andre Villas-Boas’ side fight capital rivals Arsenal and Chelsea for third and fourth. Their scheduled clash with the latter this weekend has been postponed as the Blues are in FA Cup semi-final action against Manchester City, the team Tottenham will face at home when their season resumes on 21 April.
Although Dempsey and his pals will be keen to get back to winning ways as soon as possible, the American admits the 10-day break could ultimately work in their favour. By the time Roberto Mancini’s men arrive in London, Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon should all have recovered from injury as Spurs make a final push for UEFA Champions League qualification.
“We have to regroup and we have to focus on the Premier League,” said Dempsey. “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. The break will help, because the more players you have fit, the more competition there is for spots. We’re going to need everyone fit and fighting to try to push for that Champions League.”
Chelsea are currently in third place on 58 points after 31 games, with Arsenal in fifth spot on 56 after the same number of matches. Tottenham are sandwiched in between on the same tally as the Stamford Bridge club, but they have played a game more than both of their rivals.