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Tottenham’s season hinges on priorities

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]ottenham made it through to the Capital One Cup final with a 3-2 aggregate win over Sheffield United in midweek and will now contest the date at Wembley with London rivals Chelsea for 2014-15’s first piece of silverware.

The White Hart Lane side have the opportunity to end a seven-year trophy drought, with the club’s last triumph coming over the same opposition in the same competition back in 2008.

Elimination from the FA Cup at the hands of Leicester last weekend frustrated the North London supporters, but in reality may well be a blessing in disguise given the club’s presence in three other competitions.

A place in the Premier League’s top four and qualification for the Champions League is the holy grail for most teams, and for Spurs to progress both on and off the pitch finishing amongst English football’s elite on a regular basis is a pre-requisite.

Spurs have only ever qualified for one Champions League campaign, which heralded a fantastic run that saw the side beat both Inter and AC Milan in 2010-11; they have been the nearly men so many times since.

Mauricio Pochettino’s team have already played 38 games in all competition this term, and if they were to progress to the final of the Europa League that number would increase to a whopping 64 fixtures by the end of 2014-15.

The Europa League and the distraction of cup competitions has been Spurs downfall in recent seasons, with the squad being stretched too thin and a clear lack of direction in terms of priorities.

Although Pochettino has a big squad at his disposal which took considerable finances to compile, there are still doubts over the quality of the back-up players and an over-reliance on the likes of Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen.

Christian EriksenObviously fielding the strongest side possible in the Capital One Cup final is a must, with the chance of a winning a trophy being a real boost in the Argentine manager’s first campaign with the club.

But what about the Europa League?

This season the second-tier tournament looks all the more appealing given that the eventual winners will be afforded a place in next term’s Champions League.

A gifted Fiorentina side lie in wait in the next round, but the second leg at the Stadio Artemio Franchi is to be played four days before the side’s trip to Wembley.

For the best chance to achieve either progression to the last 16 of the European competition or to win the Capital One Cup, one or the other should be prioritised.

Playing two games in the space of four days seems to be par for the course in modern football, but Spurs’ first-team have been forced to do so more than most this term.

Fatigue has taken its toll in recent campaigns, with results in the Premier League suffering in the direct aftermath of Europa League exertion.

With Spurs currently in sixth place on the Premier League table and only three points away from the promised land of the top four, this may well be viewed as a more viable way of getting into the Champions League than overcoming five more teams in the Europa League.

Pochettino has used his squad well this season, bringing a few young stars into the side with great impact and ensuring that at the beginning of February Spurs are still in the running in three competitions.

However, it is now time for the former Southampton boss to start to weigh up the importance of each tournament and prioritise; otherwise Spurs could come close but end up with nothing like in recent campaigns.

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