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Spurs sit seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and the Belgian defender accepts his side have struggled to better the standards they set last term

Jan Vertonghen says Tottenham has failed to improve on last season as it looks destined to again miss out on the Champions League.

Spurs spent heavily in the offseason to bring the likes of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Paulinho to White Hart Lane, but the team trails fourth-placed Manchester City by seven points with just eight games remaining in its Premier League season.

Furthermore, Manuel Pellegrini's men have three games in hand and rank highly among the title favourites.

Center back Vertonghen concedes Tottenham has failed to improve on last season's standards but retains belief that the current squad can qualify for Europe's premier competition next term.

"I do not want to look at the table anymore because the gap [to the top four] is very big," he said. "All four sides at the top are stronger than they were last year, and we have stayed at the same level. If you see last season, then we did not improve.

"I think we do have the players to achieve Champions League [qualification] and I hope we can achieve it next year."