Parker: It's Champions League or bust
Tottenham's season will be regarded as a failure if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, Scott Parker has admitted.
An 11-match unbeaten run towards the end of 2011 had left some claiming the current Spurs group were on a par with the 1961 double-winning squad, but the Londoners have won just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League games and were knocked out of the FA Cup in controversial style thanks to Chelsea's 5-1 victory on Sunday.
In a frank interview which followed the thrashing, Parker conceded that after starting the season so well, it would be a disaster if Tottenham could not bring Champions League football to White Hart Lane next term, claiming: "If we don't end up fourth we will have failed as a squad."
He added: "We've had a fantastic ride this year and we've dipped, that's obvious. Even our own manager is probably doubting us a little bit at the moment. Others (are), too, like our own fans."
Manager Harry Redknapp said last week that his team's form was "fantastic", claiming the club's poor results were due to a combination of bad luck and the fact that they had faced some of the league's toughest teams like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Yet poor displays in their draws against Sunderland and Stoke, and in last week's home defeat by Norwich, have left others claiming the speculation surrounding Redknapp's future and a potential switch to the national side is to blame.
Parker does not think that is the case but is still at a loss to explain how a team that played so well in the first half of the season has suddenly collapsed.
"Has the speculation about the manager affected us? I wouldn't like to think it had," he added. "It's probably a combination of a few things: dip in form, a bit of tiredness, but we need to try to stay mentally strong and grind it out now."
Chelsea were helped along their way on Sunday by Martin Atkinson's decision to allow Juan Mata's strike to stand despite the fact that the ball did not cross the line. Spurs were incensed, but Parker now says the incident may help, rather than hinder, the club in the long-run.
He said: "Something like yesterday's result might just kick us on. We can try to get that siege mentality. We need to stand up and be counted and show the fans and show the manager that we're going to try to end up in fourth place."