Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is still confident that his team will be playing Champions League football next year despite Saturday's damaging 2-2 draw with West Brom.
Redknapp's men looked set to earn the win that would have taken them ahead of fourth-place Manchester City when Jermain Defoe with 25 minutes left to put the hosts 2-1 up. However, a goal from Simon Cox meant that the Londoners had to settle for a point that seriously damages their hopes of dining at Europe's top table for a second successive year.
"It's going to be difficult but it's still all to play for," said Redknapp, who admits he is struggling to come to terms with the increased expectations thrust upon him because of this year's remarkable run in the competition.
"I find it hard that now everyone expects us to be in the Champions League," he added. "Tottenham had never been in it before until this season and suddenly it is like 'we have to be in the Champions League'.
"Manchester City have gone out and spent God knows what to get above us. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are there every year, Liverpool will be there next year. It's difficult to get fourth. It has been a great season but it's not over yet."
Victories over both Milan giants and a glamour quarter-final tie against Real Madrid have provided the White Hart Lane faithful with some memorable nights this year, but competing for both domestic and European honours is beginning to take its toll on the players.
They looked tired as they tried to summon the energy required to find the winning goal after Cox looped a brilliant 20-yard shot over Heurelho Gomes with nine minutes left.
Redknapp admits his side's route to Europe last year was much easier.
"What was a big help to us last year was that we did not have the extra fixtures in Europe," he said. "That helped us qualify for the Champions League last season but I think there's still nothing between City and Tottenham at the top. We are only talking about a point's difference.
"This is the closest we have ever got to Arsenal and Chelsea. I think we can compete with the top clubs every year. I think there is a championship in this club, not just a Champions League place. It will need a bit of investment but the nucleus is there."
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