Andre Villas-Boas demands Tottenham take Europa League seriously
Thursday 20 September 2012
Andre Villas-Boas admitted yesterday that he needs to change his players' approach to the Europa League, so that they value it like the Champions League, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur's first game against Lazio tonight.
The Europa League was not a priority for the former manager Harry Redknapp last year and Spurs went out at the group stage. The competition is rather more important to Villas-Boas, who won it with Porto in 2011, and he revealed that he would have to teach his players to value the Thursday night games and physically prepare for them.
"I think the most important thing for you is to change [the mentality] of the players so this midweek game starts being important once again," Villas-Boas said. "Tottenham missed the Champions League through Chelsea winning it. But if this was a Champions League game most of the players would be willing and would be making sure they were completely fit.
"So, based on the respect that we must have for a competition like this, first we have to create the habit of them recovering to play in this midweek game, getting used to playing this midweek game, and therefore creating this habit. I think their mental disposition for the game, their physical disposition for the game, will be extremely higher than before."
Redknapp had said last year that playing in the Europa League was like a "punishment", and that playing on Thursday and then on Sunday "messes the whole week up".
Villas-Boas, while keen not to criticise the opinions of others, said that the Europa League was an "extremely difficult competition" which "should be promoted". The demands of playing twice a week, with Queen's Park Rangers coming to White Hart Lane on Sunday, will mean some changes to the team.
"I think everybody is in contention," Villas-Boas said. "Obviously we need to respect that the QPR game is just after this one, too, so some changes can be made in the team, even to the structure of the team."
Emmanuel Adebayor will not come into the starting line-up as a result of a tight hamstring but the deadline-day signings Hugo Lloris, the France goalkeeper, and the American midfielder Clint Dempsey could make their first starts for Tottenham.
Since returning from international duty, Lloris has impressed. "The only thing we can say is that his talent is immense and easily visible from the time he has trained with us," added Villas-Boas.
Latest in Sport
Didier Drogba went absolutely mental in the Chelsea dressing room after Blues were given the Premier League trophy
Jack Wilshere's final-day strike wins Match of the Day's Goal of the Season award after Arsenal fans hijack vote
Liverpool's 2005 Champions League-winning side: From Jerzy Dudek to Vladimir Smicer - where are they now?
Jurgen Klopp favourite to replace Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool if he's sacked
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
- 1 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland