Tottenham Hotspur confirmed Champions League football for a third consecutive season with a nervy 1-0 Premier League triumph over Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
Whilst Spurs were far from their best in the encounter at Wembley, the result was all that mattered in the end and the three points were guaranteed by Harry Kane’s second-half strike.
After the match, Hugo Lloris insisted that securing a place in Europe’s top club competition for next term meant more than winning a trophy, as reported by Sky Sports.
And although the Tottenham skipper’s comments were mocked by rival fans on social media after another season without silverware for the Lilywhites, he was right in what he said.
To be clear, in the long term Spurs certainly need to start bringing home some trophies if they are to both keep and attract top players.
However, this was always a transitional campaign, with Wembley as a temporary ground whilst the new stadium at White Hart Lane was being developed for use at the start of 2018-19.
It was absolutely vital that Tottenham went into next season in the Champions League, both from a footballing and financial standpoint.
As Lloris stated, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have essentially played 37 Premier League games away from home and to maintain a top-four place despite that disadvantage is an achievement that cannot be underestimated.
Yes, there will be disappointment at not reaching the FA Cup final; Spurs made it into the semis and looked to be comfortable leading Manchester United 1-0, yet seemed shell-shocked by Alexis Sanchez’s equaliser and never recovered their footing, going on to lose 2-1.
Meanwhile, although praised for what was on the whole an improved performance in the Champions League, Pochettino will know that a huge opportunity was missed when Juventus came from behind to knock his team out in the last-16 second leg at Wembley.
But in spite of these shortcomings and setbacks, the building blocks are still firmly in place for Tottenham to push on next season.
A trophy would have been a welcome bonus but the fact is that Spurs have achieved what they set out to do and will finish as the top London club in England.
That alone appeared unthinkable five years ago and there is no reason to think that further progress cannot be made.