It may sound stupid but West Ham United slipping out of the top four may actually help them achieve it by the end of the season.
Of course in an ideal world West Ham would not have let a three-goal lead slip to draw with Arsenal.
And in an ideal world David Moyes’s Hammers would not have lost to Newcastle and Chelsea.
In an ideal world West Ham would be sitting pretty in fourth but this isn’t an ideal world
But as the recent glut of injuries to West Ham’s star players has proved this is far from an ideal world.
As a result of the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, West Ham are now fifth and effectively four points off fourth – given their inferior goal difference – with five games to play.
But is West Ham being in this position actually better?
The fact West Ham nearly let 3-0 leads slip three games in a row and then shipped three goals to lowly Newcastle is down to one thing – pressure.
Being in possession of fourth spot brings its own pressure. A pressure West Ham are not used to.
Yes Chelsea now have an advantage. But that pressure is now all on them.
Hammers back to being the underdogs with nothing to lose as all the pressure piles on Chelsea
West Ham are back to being the underdogs and genuinely have nothing to lose in the final month of the season.
Chelsea have a manic fixture list and big pressure games against some tough teams. In the league the Blues face a Fulham side fighting for their lives sandwiched by two legs of a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
Then Chelsea face Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester – in the league and FA Cup final – and Aston Villa, with Jack Grealish likely back by then, to finish.
West Ham play four of the bottom seven in their last five and have no other distractions.
And if West Ham learned anything from the unfortunate defeat to Chelsea it is that they are far from being world beaters.
West Ham will probably have to win three and draw two – or win four – of their last five to get that Champions League spot.
Different mindset chasing a dream compared to the fear of letting it slip, West Ham can still do this
Moyes has insisted West Ham were not under any pressure when they were in fourth because nobody expected it.
But that isn’t true for the players, they would have been feeling the pressure of being so close to realising a dream.
When you have something in your hands the pressure of losing it becomes suffocating.
But when you have something to aim for that becomes a positive energy.
With the pressure now off and hopefully some players returning before next Monday’s game against Burnley, West Ham can get back to playing with freedom.
The Champions League dream is very much alive ahead of the last five.