Jose Mourinho has no margin for error to prevent his first full season in charge of Tottenham ending in failure – and possibly the departure of talisman Harry Kane.
If Spurs finish yet another campaign without a trophy, and with no Champions League football in September, you have to wonder if Kane is going to stick around much longer.
Even if they win the League Cup final against Manchester City, it may not be enough to appease the fans, chairman Daniel Levy or even Kane himself.
I only had a League Cup winner’s medal to show for my career and I still get absolutely slaughtered for it.
For this season to be regarded as a success, Mourinho probably has to deliver Champions League football – and that means putting all his eggs in one basket by winning the Europa League.
On paper, their last 16 tie against Dinamo Zagreb looks very winnable but it feels like a lifetime since Tottenham beat City 2-0 to go top of the Premier League.
That left City eight points off the lead in eighth place and some of us got carried away so much we even said Spurs were genuine title contenders.
Look how far the table has turned. Tottenham have taken only 11 points from their last 12 games and City are now a massive 23 points ahead of them.
That’s a 31-point swing – absolutely incredible.
As a serial winner, finishing the season without a trophy is simply not an option for Mourinho.
Spurs have been there and done that for the last 13 years. The League Cup in 2008 remains their only trophy this century.
If the fans were never entirely convinced about Mourinho’s style of football, they were happy to wear it when Tottenham were top of the league.
So what would placate the fans? In the short term, winning the League Cup and finishing eighth or ninth may not be enough, even if it puts a trophy in the cabinet.
Winning the FA Cup and finishing fifth wasn’t enough to save Louis van Gaal’s job at Manchester United in 2016.
The board at Old Trafford wanted Champions League football, so Van Gaal was axed and Mourinho took his place, so Jose knows the score.
Barring another dramatic turn of fortune, the top four is out of reach now, so the only way to qualify for the Champions League is to win the Europa League.
What I can’t understand is how Tottenham have reached this point. They have a great squad and they are better than their current position suggests.
A front three of Kane, Son and Gareth Bale should have been a handful for anyone but we have only seen glimpses of Bale.
Where has he been hiding? The player who came on and hit the bar against West Ham, the player who finished so expertly against Wolfsberger in Europe, is the player I remember.
And Dele Alli, who was a fixture in England’s midfield only two or three years ago, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. He hasn’t become a bad player overnight.
Mourinho praised Alli’s work ethic as much as his brilliant overhead kick in midweek but it does not solve the mystery of why such a talented player has been marginalised so often this season.
So, in short, I believe it’s the Europa League or bust for Mourinho now.