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Dempsey urges Tottenham to focus on Champions League qualification

Dempsey urges Tottenham to focus on Champions League qualification

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The American attacker has expressed his disappointment at being knocked out of the Europa League, but has called on his teammates to fight for a top four finish domestically

Tottenham forward Clint Dempsey has called on his teammates to push for Champions League qualification after Spurs were knocked out of the Europa League by FC Basel on Thursday.

Spurs currently occupies the fourth and final Champions League spot in the Premier League, but are being chased by Arsenal and Everton, which lie two and six points behind respectively – both with a game in hand over the Lilywhites.

Dempsey said being knocked out of Europe could help Spurs rest without midweek fixtures, and feels it is imperative the team focuses on the Premier League now with the aim of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

"We're frustrated we're not in this competition any more, but we have to regroup and we have to focus on the league," the 30-year-old told reporters. "We have to make sure we finish in fourth place and make sure we're in the Champions League next year.

"That's the only thing we can do to salvage this season and say we had a good year. That's been the goal for the season. It's important that we get into the Champions League."

He added: "The break will help, because the more players you have fit, the more competition there is for spots.

"You need that push towards the end because it's going to be difficult.

"We've got some difficult games. We've got Chelsea, we've got Man City, so we're going to need everyone fit and fighting to try to push for that Champions League.

"It's not going to be given to you. You have to fight until the end and we're still in with a shout to make that happen.

"I think it's going to come down to the last game."

The American revealed his frustration at being knocked out of Europe, but feels his side “gave everything” in the penalty shootout loss to Basel, and just didn’t get the luck on the night required to progress in the competition.

"We gave everything we could," Dempsey continued. "The boys were dead when it came to penalties. We came up a little bit short. We were a little bit unlucky.

"Everyone's upset with the result but we'll have to regroup and focus on the league."

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