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Tottenham Report Card: Spurs negotiate Wembley pitfalls but trophies must follow

ESPN's Tottenham correspondent Dan Kilpatirck shares his thoughts on a season where Mauricio Pochettino secured Champions League football during their spell at Wembley.

How did Tottenham's class of 2017-18 get on in the Premier League this season? We take a look back at their campaign under Mauricio Pochettino.

School report: Grade B

Spurs deserve credit for qualifying for the Champions League for a third successive season (while finishing as the top club in London for the first time in 23 years), which was the principle objective of the club's hierarchy and, by extension, Pochettino. To do so while playing at temporary home Wembley, where they had to contend with a staid atmosphere, an oversized pitch and last season's "curse", is particularly impressive.

They also made strides in the Champions League, where the performances against Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus will give them confidence they can beat anyone and possibly even "do a Liverpool" next year.

However, this was supposed to be the season Spurs took "the next step" by winning silverware and their failure to end the drought continues to hang over the club and provide ammunition for its detractors.

Top of the class

Jan Vertonghen. A special mention to prefects Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen but this season's Head Boy is undoubtedly the Belgian.

Until recently, Toby Alderweireld was widely considered to be Spurs' most important defender but the brilliant Vertonghen has taken that mantle and lessened the impact of his compatriot's long term absence. The 31-year-old, who was named in the PFA Team of the Year, has been consistently impeccable, missing just one league game.

Vertonghen's only shaky match was Spurs' 2-2 draw at Juventus in the round-of-16 first leg. He has otherwise been a rock at the back, both repelling attacks and starting them with roving runs forward and raking left-footed passes. The form of summer signing Davinson Sanchez has been, in no small part, down to Vertonghen.

Detention

Fernando Llorente. The Spaniard was supposed to bring a wealth of experience and a winning mentality to Spurs, as well as acting as a form-proof deputy for Kane, but his sole contribution in the Premier League was a goal against his former club Swansea. He has barely been able to make the bench for months, and Spurs are sure to make a loss on the £15m they paid the Welsh club.

Danny Rose's spectacularly ill-judged interview slamming Spurs on the eve of the season has been followed by an injury-hit campaign in which he has looked a shadow of his former self, while Serge Aurier has too often been a liability at right-back but should probably be judged after a full preseason.

Highlight

Home wins over Manchester United and Arsenal and 2-2 draws at Liverpool and Juventus in the space of 14 days at the start of the February suggested Spurs had taken a significant step toward, overcoming their fragility in high-stakes matches and big away games.

The fortnight, which also included an FA Cup replay win over Newport County, perfectly laid the groundwork for another season in the Champions League, which they achieved, and a first trophy in a decade, which they did not.

Low point

The FA Cup semi-final defeat to United. Pochettino spent the season insisting that winning the FA Cup would not change the club but losing it had a more profound effect than anyone at Spurs expected.

This was supposed to be the year of the trophy for Spurs and, after a superb winter in which they had already beaten United at Wembley, everything was set-up for then to win on "home" turf and definitively take the next step forward in their project.

Instead, Spurs squandered a lead to crash out of a cup competition for the third time this season, displaying all the frailties they were supposed to have learnt from in last year's semifinal defeat to Chelsea and the Champions League loss to Juventus. It left the players questioning their quality and Pochettino questioning his long term future at the club.

Summer homework

The top priority for Spurs is to finish their new 61,500-seater stadium in time for next season and much of chairman Daniel Levy's energy will spent on the project in the months ahead.

But Spurs also face a crucial summer in the transfer market, with senior players Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Rose all facing uncertain futures. If they leave, Spurs will need to replace them and add quality to squad, to avoid standing still. New contracts for Eriksen, Dele Alli, Kane and Eric Dier are also in the pipeline but they might be waiting for Pochettino to sign one first.

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.

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