Andre Villas-Boas: Europa League deserves respect says Tottenham manager

 

Andre Villas-Boas is struggling to understand why the Europa League is valued so poorly in England. The Tottenham Hotspur manager's career took off two years ago when won the competition with Porto. In that campaign he won four trophies, then replaced Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea.

The former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp described participating in the tournament as a "punishment" but ahead of today's Group J encounter in Panathinaikos his successor said: "The profile of the competition is raised in other countries, but not England. I don't understand it.

"I'm also not in a position to criticise other managers' approach to the competition. I respect the competition. I certainly think it is viewed as a punishment in England and I cannot understand why. It is a traditional trophy. We have lost the Cup Winners' Cup, which I did not think was a good decision. But it was taken to enrich the Europa League."

The last time Spurs were in Greece to play in the Europa League, Redknapp made his contempt towards the competition clear when he fielded a side with an average age of 23. In contrast, Villas-Boas picked almost his entire first team for the 0-0 draw against Lazio in the first match of this campaign.

The goalkeeper Brad Friedel was the only fit senior squad member not to make the trip to Athens and Villas-Boas believes success in Europe can help Tottenham's chances of lifting the ultimate prize in European football. "For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League we have to get used to playing in these situations, both physically and mentally," he said. "I am always to field the strongest team possible. And that can be a benefit in the learning process."

Friedel's absence means Hugo Lloris is likely to make his second start since his £8m move from Lyons. Emmanuel Adebayor has not travelled with the team due to a hamstring injury, but could be fit for Sunday's home game against Aston Villa.

Probable teams

Panathinaikos (4-4-1-1): Karnezis; Vyntra, Boumsong, Velaquez, Spyropoulos; Christodoulopoulos, Mavrias, Vitolo, Zeca; Sissoko; Fornaroli.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen; Dembele, Huddlestone; Townsend, Sigurdsson, Bale; Defoe.

Referee F Meyer (Ger).

TV ITV4 6pm kick-off.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week