Harry Redknapp has challenged his Tottenham squad to get five wins to seal a return to the glory nights of Europe.
Earlier this season, that would not have been a challenge so much as an expectation. Once upon a time, Tottenham went on a run of 11 games unbeaten (as Spurs fans were no doubt reminiscing during the past five weeks).
They were the side least battered during the brutal festive period, and they were the league's only hope to break Manchester's monopoly on the Top 2 positions. Most importantly, there was a 10-point gap between them and fourth.
Then came March.
After Arsenal's desperate comeback against—and subsequent obliteration of—Tottenham in the final game of February, Spurs went through the entirety of March without a win. The collapse saw Tottenham's once-assured position of third usurped by the red half of North London, and their chances of Champions League football seemed jeopardized.
Things did not look good.
But, after Sunday's (rather comfortable) win against Premier League overachievers Swansea, Tottenham ended their five-game, league-winless slump. Before that, they dismantled Bolton in the FA Cup. It is not yet time to declare a Tottenham comeback, but it is a welcome return to form for a team that has had its confidence shattered and mettle tested.
Elsewhere in the capital city, Arsenal lost to QPR in another example of a London derby's proclivity to defy every notion of logic, talent and table position, and they have the good fortune to follow that up with a meeting with a desperate (read: motivated) Manchester City.
So, all is not lost. Tottenham can reclaim third with positive results this weekend, and their remaining schedule is relatively easy—as long as the Tottenham players focus.
With Chelsea still vying for Champions League victory, it's plausible(ish) that only the Top 3 will be invited to Europe next season. If not, their hunt for fourth will be even stronger.
Five wins? Challenge accepted, Mr. Redknapp. Here's what needs to happen.