Spurs have failed this season, says William Gallas
WILLIAM Gallas believes that Tottenham should face up to the failure of their Premier League campaign, and learn the lessons that have cost them a top-four finish.
Manchester City struck the final blow in the fight for Champions League qualification with a 1-0 win over Spurs at Eastlands on Tuesday night, in an exact reverse of the Lilywhites’ triumphant night at the same venue 12 months ago.
Gallas believes that Spurs should be proud of their Champions League debut. But the 33-year-old is adamant that the memorable journey to the quarter-finals should not mask the club’s shortcomings in the league, and stop them from learning valuable lessons.
“In the Champions League, we went to the quarter-final and it was good. For Tottenham’s first time, it was amazing,” said Gallas. “But I think everybody is upset because we didn’t get anything at the end. Even if people have said ‘you had a great season’, I don’t think so.
“During the season we have been fighting to qualify for the Champions League. It was not easy because we play against very good teams, but we lost too many points against the small teams. Maybe it was our mistakes that decided this fight.
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“Maybe it is because of experience. If we played against the big teams, we would be ready. Before we arrive in the dressing room we know that it will be very hard to beat Manchester United or Chelsea, for example, so we are already ready for the fight.
“But when we play against the small teams maybe we think we will win before we play. That may be the mistake we made, because we dropped too many points against Blackpool, against Wolves, against West Ham.
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“Also, if we don’t score first I feel we’re in trouble, because all the time we concede a goal and we have to come back, and it’s more difficult. It’s happened too much.”
Gallas, who has played in the Champions League every year since 2003 during his time at Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, admits that he and his team-mates will find it hard to watch Europe’s elite tournament next season.
And the Frenchman has urged the Lilywhites to refocus on the fight for fifth place, and secure the consolation prize of a Europa League spot.
“I’m sure all the players at Tottenham are very upset now, because when you play in the Champions League, it’s the best competition in Europe,” Gallas continued.
“You feel so good, you want to play against another team in Europe. You want to compete against the big clubs, so now because we won’t play in that competition next season, it will be difficult for us to be in front of our TV watching the Champions League.
“It would be nice if we play in the Europa League. That means we will play a lot of games as well, so we have to be sure what we want for next season, but when you play in the Europa League it’s always good because it’s another competition.
“It’s true that it’s not the Champions League but you never know. If you win the trophy I think everybody would be happy. This team can win it. We have the quality, we have the great players.”
Now Gallas, who will miss Spurs’ last two fixtures after limping off at Eastlands with a calf injury, is already looking forward to August, and a clean slate.
“For next season we must be sure that we will start the season very well. Our target will be to play in the Champions League, and why not try to win the league?” he said.
“Because Tottenham want to be a big club, we have to be back in the Champions League. I look forward because I don’t like to make the same mistakes.
“When we start the season we will take it game by game. We know what we have to say before the game, but now we know what we have to do.
“It will be harder to get into the top four next season. Liverpool will be there, they are really, really strong, they’re playing some good football, so now it will be between us and maybe five or six teams to qualify for the Champions League.
“It will be good, it means the Premier League will be very exciting and I’m sure all the fans will be excited as well, to see the big games.”