Captain William Gallas admits he does not know when Tottenham will reach a level to allow them to challenge the Barclays Premier League's top three clubs.
Spurs surrendered fourth spot to Everton after conceding twice in added time to lose 2-1 after Clint Dempsey had given them the lead at Goodison Park. The top two spots are occupied by the Manchester clubs, United and City, who have opened up a gap but third-placed Chelsea are only three points ahead of the Toffees, Spurs and West Brom.
It seems fourth will be the most keenly-contested position which is why Gallas is trying to look beyond to the top three, and he said: "We have to pass one more step to be on the (same level as the) top three and I don't know when it is going to happen."
He added: "I hope it will be this season but it is a shame because when we get very near, something always happens and we draw or lose.
"In our squad we have some players that have experience now so I don't think it is about a lack of maturity. For example, yesterday (against Everton) we did almost everything right but they scored that goal which killed us.
"It is difficult to explain but sometimes you need luck. When I was at Chelsea we had that luck to win some games even if we were not playing good but Tottenham is different. I hope it will change this season or next."
Spurs have conceded 10 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches this season and had they not done so they would be top of the table.
Gallas believes fatigue played a part at Everton as eight of the team started in the midweek Europa League victory over Panathinaikos.
"Was tiredness an issue? Yes," the Frenchman told the Evening Standard. "We played on Thursday. Even if we had three days to recover it is not easy, but when you want to win some competitions you have to play every game.
"Only big players can play all the games. We know that so when we go on the pitch we don't think we played three days ago, we just go on the pitch and try to fight. However, sometimes it is not easy, especially at this time of year because we play so many games but that is not an excuse."
Updated 10/12/2012 15:47:05