By James McManus
Former Tottenham midfielder Chris Waddle has admitted he thinks the club are more than capable of cracking the top four again under Andre Villas-Boas, despite the heavy investment of those around them.
Under Harry Redknapp last season, the side blew a 12-point lead over bitter rivals Arsenal to finish a point behind them in fourth, but their poor form was punished even further when Chelsea went on to win the Champions League and take the fourth qualification spot in their place.
Waddle, 51, has stated that despite an indifferent start to the campaign, they certainly have the ability in the squad to finish as high again this year, but they need to learn to be more consistent, citing Saturday's opponents Manchester United as the perfect example of a team to follow.
"Yeah, there's no reason why [they can't finish in the top four]. You've got to aim for that sort of place and you've got to have targets to try and meet and they've got a squad that's good enough to challenge," Waddle told Goal.com.
"They did well under Redknapp last year. Ok, we've lost Modric but we've brought in [Mousa] Dembele and [Clint] Dempsey, who are two great acquisitions and why not? What's stopping them?
"I look at the league at the minute, both Manchester United and Manchester City are stuttering. Arsenal look strong and Chelsea are still involved but they look more open.
"I always say with Tottenham they're either great or bad, there's no middle bit with them and until they get that middle bit and are able to grind out results when they're not playing particularly well - AVB might install this - but on their day Tottenham can beat anybody but they can also lose to anybody.
"If they can sort out that middle bit, which is probably more of a mental thing than anything else.
"Sometimes you can be under the cosh for 85 minutes and go and win one-nil, that's what good teams do. Manchester United have got out of jail so many times already, but it's an art.
"You can finish a game thinking that you haven't played well but we've got three points here and I think if Tottenham can install that [mentality], they'll finish in the top four."
A trip to Old Trafford represents something of a difficult task, given that the north London outfit have won there just twice in the past 31 years and Manchester United have emerged undefeated in their last 22 meetings, but Waddle believes the time is right for a change in fortunes.
He added: "It's never been a good stomping ground for them but United have got a few injuries, a few niggles, leaking goals, so they're not going to get a better chance.
"I think if they defend well and use the ball well, which they can, then there's no reason why they can't get the right result."
Chris Waddle is working as a pundit for ESPN, who are screening live Premier League games this season - including Manchester United v Tottenham on Saturday.
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