| 5°C Dublin

Dempsey feels tension spilling from stands in fight for top four

Clint Dempsey has admitted that the mounting tension inside White Hart Lane during the past month could be clearly sensed on the pitch as the Tottenham Hotspur players have faltered in their push for a Champions League place.

After defeating Arsenal last month, Spurs had established a commanding seven-point lead over their north London rivals and moved to third in the table.

However, by the time they play their next Premier League game – against reigning champions Manchester City on April 21 – they could be facing a seven-point deficit to Arsene Wenger's team.

In their last three home games, Tottenham have lost to Fulham and drawn 2-2 against both Basel and Everton, with forward Dempsey conscious that the supporters are becoming nervous.

"It's been tense," he said. "I've felt like that's kind of what the atmosphere's been. That's the way it's been the last few games.

"It's something that's been there. You've got to keep going. You can only try your best. It's going to be a fight all the way until the end."

schedule

The 30-year-old American pointed to some key injuries and the fixture schedule as possible reasons for Tottenham's dip and admitted that Arsenal's form has added a "good stress" to the season.

"At least we're pushing to try to get that (Champions League) spot. Hopefully we've enough character to get the job done," he added.

Chelsea's involvement in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday means that Tottenham now have a two-week break from the Premier League.

Although Arsenal have three matches in that period, Spurs could still benefit from the extra time that Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe will have to recover from respective ankle, knee and groin injuries.

Nevertheless, Lewis Holtby believes that Sunday's draw Everton was a missed opportunity and expects the fixtures at home to City and then away to Chelsea to ultimately prove decisive.

Asked whether Tottenham, who just missed out on a Champions League's spot the last two seasons, had needed to beat Everton, the German international said: "I think so, yes. But the positive is that we didn't lose to a rival.

"It was a good performance in the second half but, if we want to play in the Champions League, we want to win those games.

"We've still got decisive games against City at home and against Chelsea away.

"I have big faith in us because we have a quality side. If you view the season, all the effort we have put in, I think we deserve it." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent