Champions League: Why Tottenham Hotspur Will Struggle to Qualify This Term

Trevor MurrayContributor IAugust 12, 2014

Mauricio Pochettino is likely to aim for domestic progress this season.
Mauricio Pochettino is likely to aim for domestic progress this season.Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

Surprises often spring up throughout the football season, and Tottenham Hotspur will hope they can prove their critics wrong with a few startling performances of their own to once more clinch UEFA Champions League football.

Hull City's heroics in the 2014 FA Cup that saw them reach the final, where they almost beat Arsenal, was a football romance that had many enchanted. Everton, too, were an inspiration and could have clinched Champions League football if not for a resurgent final few weeks from Arsene Wenger's men.

And no matter how hard fans of the Red Devils try to forget it, Manchester United's total flop under the tutelage of the now-departed David Moyes remains one of the biggest astonishments of the 2013/14 campaign.

In many shapes and forms, expectations were surpassed and aims surrendered as the English football calendar was subjected to a barrage of unusual occurrences.

Of course, oftentimes, it can be difficultif not impossibleto correctly predict how the new season will go. Nevertheless, we continue to try. It adds a certain level of intrigue and fun to proceedings, and it allows fans to vent their loyalties while offering the ever-tempting opportunity to put down a club's rivals.

Condensed down, it's a seasonal ritual that has reached levels close to tradition.

But shocks continue to emerge from the long grass as some underestimated performers persist in throwing a curveball at even the most logical of previews.

As odd as it may sound, it's plausible that Mauricio Pochettino could use what's expected to be chock-a-block summit to his side's advantage.

After all, it's often the perception of a limitation that can be a football team's biggest disadvantage.

Cloak-and-dagger tactics might just be the best means of finding a way back to the big-time, and with Jose Mourinho, Wenger, Louis Van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers all vying most of all to clinch the league title, there's a slim chance that Tottenham could be overlooked as potential threats as they sneak in under the radar.

Realistically, however, there's not much chance the Lilywhites can upset the oddsespecially considering just how much strengthening their challengers for qualification have been engaged in.

Add to this the fact that Spurs remain a largely unchanged squad, and it's clear they have a long way to go.

Aside from a select few hopeful viewpoints, such as this one (subscription required) from The Associated Press, there doesn't seem to be too much faith in Spurs' ability to reach the heights they did in 2011 with a quarter-final showing against Real Madrid.

Metro's Matt Jones has singled out Tottenham's lack of options up front as a real worry that could prove to be a thorn in the side of their major aspirations.

To be fair, the evidence is irrefutable. Yes, Roberto Soldado could hit top form and Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane will have goals in them, but there's no question they need to draft in a top net-rattler. After all, left-back Ben Davies certainly isn't going to solve their goal drought problems.

It just doesn't look like they have the necessary firepower right now, and waiting until January to make another addition up front is likely going to be too late.

In essence, Pochettino should already have his sights set on building a project that probably won't reap any European rewards until the following season at the earliest.

With new foundations still settling, it would probably be too much for their fans to expect a charge to greatness so soon after such an unsettled period, with two managers departing in one season.

But if they can get their best players playing to their potential, while simultaneously looking to improve on smaller objectivessuch as acquiring fifth place and conceding fewer goalsthe seeds will be sewn for a bright future.

After all, the best way to build the North Londoners up is by investing in better players, and if Pochettino can prove himself capable of whipping the current crop into shape, the board might well offer him a sizeable chunk of finances to splurge next term.