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Clint Dempsey feels the tension around White Hart Lane

Apr 8, 2013, 12:14 PM EDT

Tottenham Hotspur's Dempsey takes a shot on goal as Everton's Gibson challenges it during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London

They don’t come much more chill than Tottenham’s Clint Dempsey but even the American has picked up on the rising tension at White Hart Lane as his side try to win the Europa League and qualify for next season’s Champions League.

“That’s the way it’s kind of been the last few games at home,” Dempsey said. “It’s been tense. I’ve felt like that’s how the atmosphere has been.” The mood is anything but surprising as Spurs supporters are desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s end of the season collapse.

When asked whether the tension has affected his teammates’ performances, Dempsey held his cards tight. “I don’t know if it has been affecting performances. It’s been noticeable, in the last three home games. There are a few teams right there in the fight for the Champions League and it makes it more interesting for people to watch.”

Despite the nerves Dempsey insists that it’s “good stress” to have because it concerns competition for Europe, which is exactly what the former Fulham man wanted when he announced his desire to leave Craven Cottage last summer. With six league matches to play – plus Spurs’ ongoing run in the Europa League – Deuce knows that it comes down to focus and courage. “It’s going to come to the end and, hopefully, we have enough character to get the job done. You’ve got to keep going and do everything you can to help the team.”

At 4th in the table and just two points ahead of rival Arsenal (who have a game in hand), Tottenham are at risk of losing their Champions League spot if Arsene Wenger’s side manages to win out their remaining fixtures. Winning the final seven games of a season is never easy but apart from a home match against Manchester United, the Gunners face a favorable schedule with match-ups against Norwich (H), Everton (H), Fulham (A), QPR (A), Wigan (H) and Newcastle (A).

Easing Arsenal’s burden is no longer having to deal with the rigors of Europe, something Spurs are finding quite difficult as the season wears on. This week Andre Villas-Boas’ men head to Basel for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final looking to exact revenge after last week’s 2-2 draw in North London. Fortunately for Spurs they won’t be hampered by another quick turn-around in the league this week as their match at Chelsea has been postponed due to the Blues’ involvement in the FA Cup.  In addition to their future date at Stamford Bridge, Tottenham’s final league schedule is slightly less forgiving with match-ups against City (H), Wigan (A), Southampton (H), Stoke (A) and Sunderland (H).

The showdown for a Top 4 finish and berth in next year’s Champions League is not for the faint of heart. “The race for a top-four finish will be a fight all the way until the end,” Dempsey said. But if anyone enjoys a good scrap, it’s Nacogdoches’ finest.

  1. docstraw - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Well, now would be a good time for Clint to start scoring some goals then. His dummy was a vital part of the game-tying sequence but Clint honestly hasn’t looked all that good in a Tottenham shirt for a number of weeks now, if not all season.

    • Mike Prindiville - Apr 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      It is a bit disconcerting. He gets himself into good positions to finish from close range but he’s not dominating like at Fulham. Some feel he needs to return to a club with less talent where he can once again become ‘the man’.

      • docstraw - Apr 8, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        I don’t even see him getting into those positions all that frequently. I see him often times standing next to the other attackers in the box or taking a low percentage 30 yard shot seemingly out of frustration …and those tend to roll harmlessly wide or into the keepers hands. I am not sure what his game is missing but something isn’t working for him at the moment.

      • wfjackson3 - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:31 PM

        I think its just a problem with where they are deploying him coupled with injuries. He never really had a proper start to the season and he fits in better underneath Ade than Defoe. Quite frankly, the roster at Tottenham is sort of confusing this year. I don’t see a natural 4-3-3 there and AVB doesn’t seem to want to play a 4-4-1-1 either.

  2. docstraw - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    AVB has been playing a 4-2-3-1 … haven’t seen a 4-3-3- yet. Clint has been playing mostly in the same position he plays for Klinsmann, in the middle of the three. This isn’t about formations or not having a pre-season anymore. This is about a guy who has had a sub-par year.

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