Andre Villas-Boas: Europa League deserves respect says Tottenham manager
Thursday 04 October 2012
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.
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.
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Police want right of veto over 'high risk' Friday night fixtures in wake of new Premier League TV deal
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'