Through two legs Tottenham were facing a strong Borussia Dortmund side and eventually lost because of prior commitments in the Premier League.
It’s often been said that Tottenham could have had a chance against Dortmund if Mauricio Pochettino decided to play his strongest side during the first leg.
But doing so obviously would have jeopardized the team’s standings in the league table.
For those who maybe wanted a strong showing in Europe — knowing full well that Spurs were second and five points adrift from Leicester City — these people were most likely looking past Aston Villa the entire time.
Which isn’t smart considering Tottenham’s two previous league matches against West Ham and Arsenal ended up being a loss and a draw. Two results that Spurs couldn’t have afforded especially with a shot at claiming first place.
When Tottenham missed out on their chance to overtake Leicester, that set in motion the decision to focus on Aston Villa and the Premier League and not the Europa League.
But yet, the word regret has been brought up in Mauricio Pochettino’s post-match interviews following two losses to an in-form Borussia Dortmund side.
Who, by the way, were able to select their strongest starting eleven because of a huge gap between second and third in the Bundesliga in terms of points.
This is something that Spurs don’t have the luxury in a competitive Premier League from top to bottom. With Arsenal trailing by six points, which isn’t enough of a gap in all honesty, focusing on European games by continuing to play on Thursday nights can’t be justified.
Regret is the wrong choice of words. Instead, it should be relief.
Because now Tottenham are on equal footing with Leicester City when it comes to schedule congestion since the start of the 2015-16 season back on August. A month before Spurs would begin their Europa League campaign.