Alan Pardew embarks on his first European adventure as the West Ham United manager, with a dilemma. Does he start with his two Argentina internationals, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, for the visit of Palermo for the Uefa Cup first round?
Mascherano has reportedly been breathtaking in training, and Tevez was impressive as a substitute in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
But it is a delicate situation. Pardew has two world class players, and this is the stage for which the 22-year-olds were bought, but he must integrate them without harming the balance and rhythm of the side.
"It will be very difficult for me not to get lost in the trees in terms of all the options I have got," said Pardew, who has to decide whether Tevez is fit to start and quite how to shape his midfield with Mascherano, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Lee Bowyer, Yossi Benayoun and Matthew Etherington all pressing for inclusion.
But regardless of who plays the manager is convinced his team will "upset a few in Europe" if they can overcome Palermo, a strong Serie A side who finished eighth last season and have started with a win.
"If we could just get through this first tie I think we can make an impact," Pardew said. "This is the real tricky part of Europe for us. We will have had no experience and we have a lot of young guys who are going to be keen, maybe over-keen, to do well."
"We have got to try to push our philosophy on them because they are very good at playing at their speed. That will be a lot easier at home than away."Reuse content