Belfast Telegraph

Bentaleb focused on top-four finish

Nabil Bentaleb wants to cheer up Tottenham's supporters by beating Swansea on Wednesday and then going on to qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs' bid to win their first trophy since 2008 ended in failure on Sunday as Chelsea lifted the Capital One Cup following a 2-0 win.

Spirits were raised among the Tottenham support at Wembley when their team started brightly and Christian Eriksen hit the bar, but John Terry's 45th-minute opener and an own goal from Kyle Walker meant the cup went to the club's bitter London rivals instead.

Spurs have been eliminated from two cups in four days, but Bentaleb is still confident they can recover and achieve their only other aim this season - qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in five years.

"We have only the Premier League to focus on and it will be a good race for the top four. The manager told us we had to bounce back for the game against Swansea," the Tottenham midfielder said.

"We have to take the disappointment in the right way. Now we have to put some smiles back on our faces and on our fans' faces and Wednesday is a good chance to do it.

"I have experienced disappointment before, for example at the World Cup last summer when Germany knocked out Algeria. This was my first final and I hope we can learn from it."

Bentaleb was involved in one of the big flash points in an often-fiery first half when Diego Costa pushed him in the face as they competed for the ball.

Costa has drawn criticism for his combative style of play this year, but Bentaleb refused to condemn the striker, who went unpunished for the incident with the Algerian.

"Was he lucky not to be given a card? Maybe. I don't know what was happening in his head, but I stayed focused on my game," Bentaleb said.

"Sometimes you have arguments with players. It's nothing bad. This kind of thing happens every weekend."

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