By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur have failed to meet their "raised expectations" on the pitch this season, chairman Daniel Levy said on Wednesday ahead of their final Premier League home game of the campaign against Aston Villa.
The north London club, who sacked Jose Mourinho last month, are sixth in the table with two games remaining and face a second successive season without Champions League football.
Although they reached the League Cup final, losing to Manchester City, they have suffered a disappointing season after topping the Premier League in December.
"This season, for many reasons, we have not met our raised expectations on the pitch," Levy wrote to fans in the match programme. "Since we lost the Champions League final in 2019, we have invested in excess of 250 million pounds in new players.
"Everyone had high hopes for the squad we had assembled. Unfortunately, despite being top of the league in December, we have not been able to sustain the position."
Levy, who came under fire for trying to take Tottenham into the doomed European Super League and faces a fight to keep striker Harry Kane, said the club had taken their eye off key priorities.
"As a club we have been so focused on delivering the new stadium and dealing with the impact of the pandemic, that I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what's in our DNA, he said."
Levy said they have not got everything right.
"It has never been because we don't care or respect you, our fans -- nothing could be further from the truth."
Levy banked his reputation on hiring Mourinho after sacking the popular Mauricio Pochettino in November 2019, but that appointment failed to deliver the silverware the club craves.
Former midfielder Ryan Mason has been interim coach since Mourinho left, but Levy said the priority was recruiting a coach who will return the club's "free-flowing attacking style".
"We are acutely aware that we need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great club," Levy said.
There was no mention of player recruitment with Kane's future the subject of intense speculation.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, ediing by Ed Osmond)