Tottenham Should Be Targeting Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League Treble

Sam RookeFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2016

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino looks across the pitch before the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane in London, Saturday Jan. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Tottenham have produced two of their finest performances of the season in their last two matches. 

The 4-1 demolition of Sunderland and the 2-0 FA Cup victory over Leicester City showed Spurs at their energetic, aggressive best. 

Spurs are in solid, but not invincible, form. 

They have hammered Manchester City and outplayed Arsenal, Manchester United and Leicester City during this campaign. 

They are, for the first time, part of a Premier League title race. 

Having proven their ability to break down defensive teams in the 2-0 FA Cup win over Leicester City, there is nothing standing between Spurs and a sustained push to win the division. 

The points total required to win the title this year will be historically low. 

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino's team has repeatedly shown that they are good enough to compete with the best opposition this season, but the ease of both of their most recent wins suggests a further evolution. 

The most significant takeaway from these matches is that Tottenham's squad is strong enough to compete on multiple fronts. 

Pochettino made eight changes between the two fixtures but was still able to field two powerful lineups. 

Seven of the eight players introduced for the FA Cup were full internationals. Heung-Min Son's sensational performance, scoring a blinding goal and providing a neat assist, shows the quality of those replacements. 

Son was a star at Bayer Leverkusen but has been largely relegated to a rotational role in his first season in England. 

Kevin Wimmer is a Premier League-quality centre back but is yet to make an appearance in the competition.

Only two of Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and Ben Davies can play while all four are easily good enough. 

Spurs' strength in depth is such that England international Andros Townsend has been omitted from every squad since early December and has not been missed. 

Injuries to last season's regular starters Nacer Chadli, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb have gone similarly unnoticed. 

Tottenham are currently five points from the top of the Premier League, one win over League One strugglers Colchester from the FA Cup fifth round and headed for a tricky but winnable Europa League tie with Fiorentina

Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Ending a 55-year wait for a first division title would be a fantastic achievement. 

So too, would winning a ninth FA Cup and ending Arsenal's stranglehold on the trophy. 

A third UEFA Cup/Europa League trophy would etch Spurs' name even deeper as one of European football's most storied teams. 

Any of these would make this a historic season for Tottenham, and more than one would mark Pochettino down as one of the club's greatest managers. 

Historically, a team in Spurs' position would commit resources to either their title challenge or the pursuit of a cup. 

More modern conventional wisdom would prioritise the league and securing Champions League football, while winning the Europa League is shortest route to a return to Europe's top competition. 

Tottenham should not be prioritising any competition over another at this stage. 

In late January it is difficult to predict what direction a season might take. 

At this point last season, prospects were similarly bright. 

Fiorentina were the scheduled Europa League opposition and a then-unimpressive Leicester City loomed in the cup. 

Disastrous performances home and away in Europe as well as in the cup saw Tottenham knocked out of both competitions. 

The disappointments of 2015 demonstrate how quickly things can change. 

There is little value in attempting to husband resources in favour of one or another competition at this stage. 

Spurs are a genuine chance to win the FA Cup, the Europa League and the Premier League. 

Any calls to throw away one in favour of another are misguided and short-sighted. 

There is a minimum of 19 matches remaining in Tottenham's season and in that time, fortune will play a weighty role. 

In both the wins over Leicester and Sunderland, Pochettino rotated his squad partially but was still able to field a strong enough team. 

That should be the model for the remainder of this campaign.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Spurs aren't likely to win a treble, but they are contenders for each of the three competitions in which they remain. 

Pochettino should prioritise a consistent level in each of the FA Cup, Europa League and Premier League rather than sacrificing one or two for another.