Jan Vertonghen has dropped a heavy hint he will consider his Tottenham future if the club miss out on Champions League football.
Tottenham fell six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool at the weekend after losing at relegation-threatened Norwich.
Head coach Tim Sherwood admitted it will now be difficult to make up ground on Liverpool and missing out on Champions League football could leave Spurs facing a battle to keep their stars.
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has already suggested he could look for a way out of White Hart Lane if Tottenham fail to secure a top-four place and Belgium international Vertonghen appears to be of a similar view.
Asked whether he will be happy to stay at Spurs with no Champions League football, defender Vertonghen said: “Those are always difficult questions. What I want is to play in the Champions League with Tottenham, so, hopefully, I will get there this year.
“I don’t complain about anything. Let’s see after the end of the season and after the World Cup.”
Tottenham have to play Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in March and Vertonghen admits he and his team-mates will have to improve considerably to stay in the race for a Champions League place.
“For me, the Norwich game was just not good enough and we need to raise up our game to compete with the other top teams,” said Vertonghen.
“Before, the defence was not doing well enough, which includes everybody, and now we are not scoring enough goals to bounce back from a 1-0 deficit after half-time or whatever. We need to start playing as a team more because individually we are good enough.
“We will need quite a few points from the games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. They are still competing for the title, so they will be tough games but we have shown we can beat the top teams.”