Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood believes the club deserved to finish outside the Champions League places after selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid last summer.
Spurs attained a world record fee for the Wales international but were unable to sign a sufficient replacement, with the likes of Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado failing to have the desired impact.
And Sherwood – whose future at Tottenham is uncertain despite winning 14 of his 28 games in charge and guiding them to next season's Europa League – says the club could not have expected to finish higher than sixth after parting ways with Bale.
"We're taking out one of the best players in the world and replacing him with seven players who have never played in this competition before," Sherwood said. "How on earth did people think we would be title challengers or even make the top four?
"If you don't know the game you could possibly think that they would all hit the floor running but it doesn't happen, they need time. This club will be better with those seven players next season - they'll have experience of the competition and they will improve from that.
"It was hyped - the hype was ridiculous," added the Tottenham boss. "We've qualified for the Champions League once - why have we got a divine right to qualify for the Champions League?
"Where we've finished in sixth is where we should be, it's where we are as a club. We all want to aspire to the top four and the title but we aren't getting there with what we've got.
"To remove a match winner like Gareth Bale out of that squad - we shouldn't have expected it after that."
The departure of Bale was the continuation of the trend of Tottenham allowing their best players to leave the club and former midfielder Jamie Redknapp says chairman Daniel Levy must improve his record in the market in order to achieve success.
"They've got to get their recruitment right," Redknapp told Sky Sports. "For the last seven or eight years they've sold their best players - Modric, Bale, Berbatov, Carrick - every time they get a good player they sell them.
"Then they bring in a group of players and it's very difficult to bed in five or six players. It hasn't worked this season. What they must do is get in one or two to make that difference."