Gareth Bale admits he found Tottenham's latest failure to qualify for the Champions League hard to stomach.
Bale rounded off a remarkable year on Sunday by scoring his 26th goal of the season, but his wonder winner against Sunderland was not enough to earn the club Champions League qualification. Having enjoyed such a successful season personally, the Welshman concedes that he was disappointed to miss out on another shot at the big time.
"It was obviously great to sign off with a great goal in the last minute, but circumstances made it hard to celebrate," Bale told Spurs TV Online after picking up his latest accolade - the Tottenham Player-of-the-Year award. "To play the way we have also but to miss out on our objective (Champions League qualification) is very disappointing."
Bale will play his last match of the season on Thursday when he and his Tottenham team-mates take on the Jamaica national team in a friendly in the Bahamas. Bale, who scored 31 goals for club and country this term, will discuss his future with Spurs over the next coming weeks.
The club are understandably keen to hold on to their star man and manager Andre Villas-Boas recently called on the forward to end speculation about his future by signing a new deal at White Hart Lane.
For now, the signs look promising for Tottenham fans. From his comments in the immediate aftermath of the victory over Sunderland, he seemed in no mood to abandon ship and head to Real Madrid.
"We fought hard this season, the team and the manager have been great," he said. "We have got the record points for the club in the Premier League.
"That would normally be enough to qualify for the Champions League, but it's not meant to be again. It's disappointing, but we will pick ourselves up again. We will just have to regroup this season and give it another go."
Villas-Boas is keen to build his team around Bale next season, and stressed that significant investment was required in order to bridge the small gap between themselves and Arsenal. Leandro Damiao, Christian Eriksen, Christian Benteke and Heung-Min Son have been mentioned as possible targets for the north London club.
Bale thinks the foundations are there for Spurs to have a successful 2013-14 season. He added: "It was great to get the win but the clouds just came over and made it a little bit duller, but it's something we have to learn from, we are a young squad, and we will take it in to the future."