Tottenham defender Michael Dawson has spoken of his frustration about missing out on Champions League football next season, but maintained that the team must not feel disheartened as they still “played some of the best football in the Premier League”.
Despite finishing in the top four, Chelsea's victory against Bayern Munich in the competition’s final means Spurs will now have to settle for a place in the Europa League next season.
However, the former Nottingham Forest centre-back is proud of how the north Londoners performed and does not believe that they should be overly criticised.
He told Hotspur Magazine: "We finished in the top four and you couldn't ask for much more.
"That was our aim at the start of the season and we achieved that.
"All I want to concentrate on is getting myself fully fit because I'm already looking forward to pre-season" - Michael Dawson
"True, we were disappointed to be 10 points clear in third place and then to have that steadily eroded and overtaken.
"But we won a lot of tough games and picked ourselves up again after our disappointing spell to really make it start happening for us again, so we can't be too hard on ourselves.
"We played some of the best football in the Premier League at times and that deserves respect."
Dawson struggled for fitness at the start of last season with an Achilles injury, and only managed to make four appearences in the league before ankle ligament damage in March ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign.
But, the defender is already turning his attention to helping his team’s campaign next season.
He added: "I was back in action before Christmas and feeling fit and fantastic, but then in March I was unlucky again.
"The injury itself was just a freak. It was just one of those things that happen - there's nothing you can do about it - but I knew as soon as it happened that it was serious.
"I tried to get up again and when I failed I realised I was in trouble. I knew straight away that England would not be an issue for me this summer.
"Now all I want to concentrate on is getting myself fully fit because I'm already looking forward to pre-season."