Simply put; beat Blackpool, finish Top Four.
Last season, on a number of occasions, we dropped points but never lost sight of the target. It still took a monumental effort to take us into that must win game at Eastlands, makers of our own destiny if we chose to dare. Which we did. This season the trend has been one surrounding the quality of our form, and that we have yet to truly blossom into a free-flowing rampant goal-getting beast humping our way through the herd never asking for phone numbers or bothering with breakfast. But neither has anyone else. Not a b*stard to be had.
To continue to play this shy game of step aside that everyone seems to be partaking in remains one of great risk.
There is something very Spursesque about us doing it the hard way, written off by our own as well as the press. It's the fuel we consumed during the drive through the 2010 season. You half sort of give up hope because it's easy(ier) to prepare for dejection than it is to build yourself up for an even bigger fall because the height will hurt you even more if said hopes tumble. And climbing that ladder is for some, too much to cope with.
Been there, done it, didn't fall down. We've even moved onto a taller building. Ladder is fairly stern too.
Someone once said something about aiming high and something about an echo. Words mean little without action. We lived the words through our actions which is why, even if it's hardly 'glory' to finish fourth it was a necessary step that had to be fought for and celebrated when achieved.
Plenty believed our season was over at least four or fives times. Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in. Agony, followed by glee, followed by agony. Would rather this time there was no debate around being anything but in.
Mind your step on the ladder.
Don't care if it's ugly, pretty or lucky. We have to win at Blackpool. I wont go as far as suggesting it would kill any ambitions we have to reclaim a Champions League position. Simply because of how this season has panned out and with the end in sight, nobody has yet to take a stranglehold with their consistency.
Yet. The key word. The same tired excuse to protect the dream.
It's time for us step it up and let others concern themselves with the catching up stuff. The less pressure we have on retaining a top 4 (screw it) a top 3 position as the weeks fly past the better. Our form is actually very good. We've been consistent, accumulating a healthy tally of points. What's required is avoidance of those occasional blips, hiccups that can cause hope to rise in others.
Harry claims (tonight) it's as big as the Milan game. It's not, but it is. It's the most important game we're going to be involved in this evening.
Of course it's frigging important.
What we've achieved in Europe has been nothing short of, well, Tottenham. Our unique brand of swash buckle, heart in mouth comebacks and unexpected (and devastating and patient) dismantling jobs - we've done it all. And nobody can pretend we've not made an impact on the continent. We have proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that we can compete at the very top level. Our learning curve has been one of fizzy refreshment in the usually bland and stale group games and maturity (thus far) in the knock-out stage. Perhaps next season we'd have to adapt further as we'll no longer be unknown entity. If there is a next season.
Blackpool and Wolves away, on paper, easy. In reality, hardly. We all know how the Wanderers have faired this season against the 'big' sides. And we all know how tireless and spirited Blackpool can be. But in paying respect, there's an admittance of the possibility of defeat.
We've yet to cement ourselves as a side that will finish top 4 season in season out. The landscape of the Prem might not allow another monopoly to exist. Others are expected to awake (Chelsea) and take (Man City) what is suggested to be rightfully there's based on the norm and money spent.
And what do I want? All I care for is the monopoly of one. The Tottenham paradox. Even the critics who were scoffing a season and a half ago are now drowning themselves in Lilywhite drenched plaudits. Bizarre but acceptable. But not enough, more is needed. The very thought of defeat pains me. Not that long ago it was almost a bi-weekly emotion. Spent most of the 1990s accepting its inevitability.
And in the present we've been written off more times than I care to count but now expectancy weighs down on us. Time for us all to just admit that we are now a very good side and that when hiccups are suffered, they're just that. And not throw-backs to a disease that still might plague us. We don't choke. We just sometimes, individually or collectively under perform. Like the vast majority of sides. Which is why we have a Spanish Inquisition when it happens.
No under performing tonight please. Let's under perform when we play West Ham and only beat them by three clear goals instead of five.
I know what you're thinking. It's only Blackpool away, get a grip of yourself you drama queen.
It's bread and butter and we need to eat it up. If we're going to truly elevate ourselves onto that next level of competitiveness then we need to show reinforced tenacity, as displayed in the last couple of Prem outings. Every game is a must win, right? But not every game is winnable and there are some games where less than three points (that being quite obviously a draw) is acceptable in the grand scheme of thirty eight games.
I've used that 'excuse' to defend my belief we would finish fourth last season. I've used it once or twice this season. Faith and all. I'm scrapping it for the purpose of our next two games.
This time, I'd rather not do it the hard way. Even if the hard way is the Tottenham way. Even if the hard way is more nail biting, exciting and entices that never say die attitude that makes us perform on an electric level of intensity that can sometimes give ample juice to the adrenalin that drives us beyond limited expectations*. And breathe.
*Best illustrated by the run-in last season which was and still is 'special'.
Belief was the key last time. Momentum, the buzz word for the present. Our progression, evolution - it doesn't stagnate. It hiccups, it's an annoyance, we down a glass of water, it sometimes works, we move on. Not always solving it the same way the next time it happens. But we don't look back. And we always move on.
We are spirited and driven. The culture of comfort at the Lane is long gone and we have players who play for the team, for each other and for the club. Hungry for success. Wanting to better themselves.
We might still lack a cutting edge and perhaps (arguably) there remains doubts on the consistency and delivery of Harry Redknapp's astuteness with tactics. We have key players missing. But yet here we are. In amongst it domestically and swaggering continentally.
Time to prove we can switch on for those wet wintry mid-week games as well as the high profile glamour ties (equally wet). Not just tonight, but Wolves in the next away game too. I have no more nails to bite and my heart is whimpering from the relentless emotional pulls.
The metamorphosis from plucky lucky pretenders to sustained genuine gritty yet silky contenders has to start somewhere.
This rallying war cry is probably going to fall on deaf ears, what with Redknapp citing 'miracle' for us to finish in the top four again. Backs to walls, bare bones. It's how he works his magic. Perhaps the hard way is the only way and I need to stand down from painting myself navy blue and white and screaming at the dodgy internet stream of the match like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. He failed (William Wallace) in the end. Aimed very high. However, even in his failure there was an echo of glory.
Hanged, disembowelled, drawn and quartered. Let it be the ones in Orange not the ones in Lilywhite.
Hiccups? Hold your breath.
Either way, I'm still going to need a heart transplant.