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Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Tuesday, 17 May 2011 17:33 UK

Rafael van der Vaart pledges his future to Tottenham

Rafael van der Vaart
Van der Vaart wants the busy schedule of a Europa League campaign

Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has vowed to stay at the club despite Spurs' failure to reach next season's Champions League.

The London club can still automatically qualify for the Europa League if they defeat Birmingham on Sunday.

And the Dutchman denied he will leave to pursue top-level European football, telling the London Evening Standard: "I want to stay. It's great to be here.

"Do I see myself at Tottenham for the next few years? Of course."

Van der Vaart, 28, arrived in an £8m switch from Real Madrid in the August transfer window and played seven times in the Champions League, scoring twice. Eye-catching displays have led to reported interest from Manchester United.

Tottenham reached the quarter-finals in their debut Champions League season. They recorded a famous 3-1 home win over Inter Milan, with Van der Vaart scoring the opener, and also defeated AC Milan 1-0 in the San Siro.

Manager Harry Redknapp urged fans to be realistic about the future despite a string of fine performances in the Champions League this season and admitted his squad will find it harder to qualify again if they play in the Europa League next campaign because of the congested schedule.

The Europa League can help our development in Europe
Rafael van der Vaart

Redknapp said: "You play Thursdays and Sundays most weeks. It is very difficult to concentrate and it makes the Premier League even harder. It seems that, when teams get in it, they want to get out of it."

Van der Vaart concedes the Londoners were not worthy of making it to Europe's elite competition again for next term citing the points dropped against lesser sides in the Premier League as the reason for the club falling behind fourth-placed Manchester City.

The Netherlands midfielder added: "Against the big teams, we always play well but, with due respect, against the smaller teams we dropped too many points and, if you do that, you don't deserve to be in the Champions League.

"Still, we have had a great season and a long one, as well. Everyone gets tired, but when you win games like the one at Anfield [defeating Liverpool 2-0 on Sunday], it gives you a lot of confidence.

"You want to be in the Champions League, but you want to play in the Europa League as well. It's a great title to win and it means you play at least twice most weeks, which is important.

"The Europa League can help our development in Europe but you have to remember that we did well in the Champions League. Reaching the quarter-finals in our first season was fantastic."

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see also
Redknapp proud of Spurs' season
13 May 11 |  Tottenham
Liverpool 0-2 Tottenham
15 May 11 |  Premier League
Tottenham 3-1 Inter Milan
02 Nov 10 |  Europe
Van der Vaart on 'dream' Spurs move
15 Jan 11 |  Tottenham
Spurs clinch Van der Vaart deal
01 Sep 10 |  Tottenham

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