Atmosphere is bad and the mood is down, reveals Gallas
William Gallas has delivered a damning verdict on Tottenham's season and said that Sunday's 5-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat against Chelsea is further evidence that they are still a long way from joining English football's elite.
"I think we have to improve a lot," Gallas said. "Even if we have good players and a good squad this result shows we are not ready yet."
With Tottenham's hopes of winning silverware now gone, their remaining challenge is to reverse a desperate run of league form and secure a top-four finish.
Gallas, though, alluded to fear in the Tottenham dressing-room, while Scott Parker admitted that even Harry Redknapp, the club's manager, is now probably doubting the players.
Redknapp certainly sounded pointed when he talked on Sunday of needing to find a team with sufficient nerve, willpower and desire. "It's a test of character now -- they have to show some character," Redknapp said.
If that is the case, Gallas' assessment will provide little encouragement.
"The atmosphere is very bad -- the mood is very down," the defender said.
Asked if he was worried that the season was falling apart, Gallas was again candid. "Yes, everybody is worried because at the beginning of the season everybody was talking about us, saying we play good football, we can finish third, we are 10 points in front of Arsenal.
"Now we are five points behind them and we have lost the semi-final. It will be difficult because Chelsea and Newcastle are behind us and, after that victory, Chelsea will be very strong. I think they will finish very well so we have to finish well."
For Tottenham, these are worrying times at two levels: the pursuit of Champions League football over the next five games and the long-term uncertainty hanging over the club.
Gallas said that the potential departure of their manager has not distracted the players but revealed that Redknapp did address them immediately after Fabio Capello had resigned as England manager.
"Nobody has been talking about what we will do next season," Gallas said.
"His priority has been to get the team to qualify for the Champions League.
"So when the people start to speak about him for the national team he came to the dressing-room and said: 'Guys, I am very focused on the Champions League and that's it'." Parker echoed that sentiment. "Speaking personally, I've not thought about it really," he said.
So if Redknapp's unsettled future does not explain recent results, then what? "That's the million-dollar question," Parker said. "It's probably a combination of a few things: a dip in form, a bit of tiredness."
Parker also talked of establishing a "siege mentality" and called on the players to harness the negativity that currently surrounds the club.
"We need to stand up and be counted for, and show the fans, and show him that we're going to try and end up fourth," he said. "If we don't end up fourth this year, we will have failed as a squad."
Gallas also claimed that luck had eluded Tottenham lately, although they are fortunate now that their run-in is far more appealing than any of their rivals. Of their remaining matches, the only top-half opposition is Fulham at home. A top-four finish is Tottenham's to lose. (© Daily Telegraph, London)