Tottenham Hotspur have rediscovered their best form in recent weeks, but Nacer Chadli has dismissed their chances of joining the title race.
Since Tim Sherwood succeeded the sacked Andre Villas-Boas in the White Hart Lane dugout, the fortunes of the capital club have been on the up. Since dropping two points at home to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day, Spurs have won seven of their following eight league matches, including a 4-0 win at Newcastle United on Wednesday.
This has seen them move to within two points of fourth-place Liverpool, and just even behind leaders Chelsea in what is proving to be the closest Premier League since its inception in 1992-93. But whilst a UEFA Champions League place is their absolute priority this term, Chadli believes a first title since 1961 is beyond them at present.
“We have to keep playing like we did at Newcastle and keep going in every game for 100 per cent to get the three points,” he said in The Mirror. “With five games to go, we will see where we are. We are not looking to go above Chelsea. We are looking at Liverpool, who are directly above us and we have to go there in a few weeks, so that will be big.
“We are within touching distance of the top. We have had a good week, but in one week everything can happen, everything can change. We can be up or we can be down, so we have to stay alert and play our game like we did at Newcastle. It is a very different league this season, because a lot of teams are playing at around the same level.”
Having been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Tottenham now have a spare weekend. Their campaign resumes on Thursday, when they travel to Dnipro in the UEFA Europa League last-32 first leg. The Ukraine side are coached by former White Hart Lane boss Juande Ramos, who won the League Cup with the club in 2008 before being sacked less than a year into his tenure.
The Spaniard, who has also coached Sevilla and even Real Madrid, was in the news this week, criticising the lifestyle some of his Spurs players enjoyed. He has also expressed his surprise at being sacked by Daniel Levy, who replaced him with Harry Redknapp despite handing him a four-year contract when he lured him from Spain in 2007.
“The last title they won was with me, so I guess they’ll remember me fondly,” Ramos told The Guardian. “We hadn’t beaten Arsenal for years and we won 5-1. We won the Carling Cup, everyone’s really happy. Levy had an easy explanation. When we won the Carling Cup I understood, and then I didn’t understand anymore! They sacked a manager they had given a four-year contract to, so that say: ‘he didn’t understand.’”