Van der Vaart keen on Spurs stay

Rafael van der Vaart says he wants to stay at Tottenham Hotspur, despite the disappointment of missing out on a Champions League qualification spot.

Keeping hold of the Dutch midfielder would be a major boost for Spurs, who in recent weeks have surrendered fourth place and a shot at qualifying for next year’s tournament to Manchester City.

He said: "Of course I want to be playing in the Champions League. Every player is the same. But I have only been here just one year. I have really enjoyed my first year and we will see what next season will bring."

Spurs’ only hope of European football next season lies in the Europa League, which will be guaranteed by victory over Birmingham City at White Hart Lane this weekend.

Van der Vaart insists that some European football is better than none and the perceived consolation prize would be valuable experience for both Harry Redknapp's side and himself.

"We always want to play in Europe. I think it is good to have the experience from the Europa League and it would also be a nice title to win. So why not?" he said.

“I like every year to be playing every two days or three days. It's really important to have Europe. You saw this year that having a Champions League season has helped us. It is so important for the players and that is why we want to make sure we win next week against Birmingham also."

Van der Vaart opened the scoring in last weekend’s victory over fellow Europa League hopefuls Liverpool that moved Spurs into fifth place.

But Tottenham's Champions League ambitions have ultimately been undone this season by dropping points against weaker teams, something Van der Vaart also said he was keen to address.

By David Jamieson