Tim Sherwood believes nine victories from the final 13 Premier League games of the season could be enough to secure a top-four finish for Tottenham.
Sherwood’s suggestion that his side can lose ‘four or five matches’ and still return to the Champions League may surprise some, and the Spurs head coach acknowledged that the unpredictable nature of the season made predictions tricky.
"Maths is not my strong point, but I would say that we could afford to lose four or five games maybe, of what we have left. That would give us a huge tally," Sherwood told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's trip to Newcastle.
"You can do the sums later. Our biggest rivals Liverpool are flying at the moment and we need them to trip up, that’s for sure.
"I would say Newcastle have to consider themselves still in it [the top-four race], and possibly Southampton. Man United for sure. They will put a run together and be right up there. There are enough teams who can beat everyone.
"A club like Tottenham expects to be in and around that spot. We have tasted Champions League football, so the expectancy is obviously there.
"We have spent a lot of money. It’s fair to say that not every player settled in. It does take time to do that. We have also got a huge amount of players at the club who are performing very well.
"We have had a season where there have been so many hammerings for teams. Five, six or seven [goals], it can happen to anyone. We have been on the end of them ourselves.
"We are looking upwards rather than behind us. It will go right to the wire. I don’t think anything will be secured until the final month of the season."
Sherwood said Tottenham’s hopes of attracting top players and keeping their current stars could be affected by the race for the Champions League, but suggested the status of the club remained a lure for potential signings.
"There is always a risk you can lose players if you are not in the Champions League," he continued. "Tottenham is a massive football club that will always attract the biggest name players. There are other clubs where they can go and sit on the bench and pick up championship medals. That is not something I would have wanted to do.
"This club sells itself. It’s far bigger than any manager. I am not here making out I’m doing anyone a favour being Tottenham manager. This is a massive football club. Players will come here because they know what we have to offer. If the be all and end all is Champions League and we are not in it, they will have to make a decision."
Sherwood said his own future would not be decided by securing a top-four finish, and was realistic about his long-term job prospects.
"I just need to get as high up the league as I possibly can and if my achievements don’t match the achievements of the club, then I will be gone," he added. "We are looking upwards rather than behind us. It will go right to the wire. I don’t think anything will be secured until the final month of the season.
"I just wanted to win as many games as possible. In the Premier League, it has gone reasonably well for me. I just wanted to keep it going. You are one game away from being a disaster. Recently, I read about a mini-disaster at certain clubs when they have lost two or three games."