Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood rues loss of Gareth Bale

Tim Sherwood believes Tottenham could have challenged for the Premier League title this season had Gareth Bale still been in their side.

Forward Bale, 24, excelled for Spurs last season, scoring 26 goals in all competitions, before being sold in the summer to Real Madrid for a world-record £85m fee.

The Welshman has performed well in Spain this campaign, scoring 20 goals in 38 appearances, including a superb solo winner in Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey final against Barcelona.

Tottenham, who also sold midfielder Luka Modric to Real in August 2012 for a fee believed to be around £33m, have struggled to maintain a challenge for a Champions League qualification spot this season and are currently sixth, seven points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

When asked about Bale’s winning goal in Real’s 2-1 win against Barca, Sherwood replied: “That is business as usual for Gareth Bale.

“We saw what he did last year: 21 goals and nine assists. He scored the winner in eight games.

“We could do with that now, by the way. If you put those points that he accumulated for us on top of what we have got we would probably be challenging for the title.

“The two best players on the pitch last night (in the Copa del Rey final) were Gareth Bale and Luka Modric and that says everything.”

Spurs face Fulham on Saturday with the aim to close the gap between themselves and fifth-placed Everton.

Sherwood admitted that his side’s involvement in the Europa League this season had put a strain on his side, but is determined to see them finish as strongly as possible.

“We are just focusing on trying to finish as high up the league as possible,” he added. “People do say that the less games you have the more chance you have of emulating Liverpool (who have not played in Europe this season and are currently top of the league).

“The last time we qualified for the Champions League, the year before we weren’t in the Europa League. The stats don’t lie.

“But we’re certainly not going to go on to the field and try to lose a game now with four to go so we don’t qualify. That is not going to happen.”

Sherwood also revealed that he had not had any further talks with the club regarding his future.

The 45-year-old was promoted from his position as U21 coach on December 23 as Andre Villas-Boas’ successor on an 18-month contract and he has subsequently won 11 and lost nine of his 23 games in charge.

There have been rumours that Sherwood would be replaced in the summer.

Spurs have refused to confirm this, with a statement from the club earlier this month reading: “The board will meet with Tim Sherwood at the end of the season to review how things have progressed. Anything else at this stage is speculation.”

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