Tottenham can bounce back from Europa League exit, urges Holtby

The 22-year-old believes his side can recover from their mid-week defeat to Basel and has backed the White Hart Lane outfit to secure Champions League qualification
Tottenham midfielder Lewis Holtby insists his side can “bounce back” from their frustrating Europa League exit at the hands of Basel on Thursday.

Spurs drew the second leg of their quarter-final 2-2 to take the tie to extra-time against the Swiss champions, though they went on to lose 4-1 on penalties and had Jan Vertonghen sent off in added time.

However, Holtby believes Tottenham can recover if they focus on the race to reach next year’s Champions League – and the German international insists Spurs deserve to finish in the top four.

"We played well over 120 minutes and we were down to 10 men so it was a difficult night, but we got to the penalty shootout, and it was typically English in the end," Holtby told Press Association Sport.

"Now we just have to bounce back. We have some very big Premier League fixtures coming up now so we have to put our heads up high and do our best.

"We were unlucky. There's a lot of pressure on the lads when you are taking penalties away from home, but we have some time to recover now and we have some important games coming up. We want to go in to the Champions League next year and I think we deserve to."

Despite Tottenham having won just once in their last seven games in all competitions, Holtby is confident his side can come through a tough run-in against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea to finish in the top four.

He continued: "The belief is very strong that we can make the Champions League. Whenever we have disappointment we bounce back. We have shown that in the past. We fight back and play good football.

"On Thursday we had a lot of possession. To play with 10 men for the last 30 minutes in the rain on that pitch was hard. I was proud to be a Tottenham player.”

Holtby’s optimism is aided by the fact that Spurs can now enjoy a 10-day break before their next match, while Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe are also due to return ahead of their Premier League clash with Manchester City.

"I think the break will be beneficial," Holtby said.

"We have had a lot of matches as a squad. The Basle game was the second match in the space of a few weeks where we have had 120 minutes, and we have had so many games.

"We played well on Thursday, and we have got Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, and Jermain Defoe coming back for the Man City game so the prospects are good.

"It could be (beneficial) that Chelsea are still in the Europa League, but I am just thinking about our team."