Tottenham defender Kyle Walker ignoring Europa League jibes

 

Kyle Walker insists Tottenham should take no notice of jibes about playing in the Europa League.

Spurs host Maribor on Thursday night looking to record their first win in Group J after three successive draws.

But for Chelsea's dramatic shoot-out victory in May, Tottenham would have earned the chance to play in the Champions League this season, rather than heading into Europe's second tier competition.

While some may feel the tournament lacks star quality, defender Walker sees no reason to treat their European campaign with any less enthusiasm.

"Some people aren't even on Channel Five on Thursday nights, so it is definitely something I want to win on a personal level and I am sure the lads and the gaffer want to do as well," said Walker, speaking at a supporters event organised by the Topps Match Attax Tour.

Just three points separate all four teams in Group J following the last round of matches.

Tottenham head to leaders Lazio next, then finish at home to Panathinaikos on December 6.

Walker sees no reason why Andre Villas-Boas' men cannot end the qualification stage in strong form.

"No disrespect to them (opponents), but these are all winnable games," he added.

"With the players we have in our team - we have world-class internationals - we can win this one, go to Lazio and give them a good game, and beat Panathinaikos and the table will look good come the end of it."

Tottenham head into Thursday's match on the back of another disappointing performance when beaten at home in the Barclays Premier League by Wigan.

Centre-back Jan Vertonghen feels the players owe a quick response against the Slovenians as they prepare for tough trips to Manchester City and then north-London rivals Arsenal.

"The team is strong enough to come back from this defeat," Vertonghen told the club's official website, http://www.tottenhamhotspur.com.

"We have a lot of important games ahead, important games in Europe and difficult away games.

"We have to stick together. We know we are strong in away games and we can win at any away ground."

:: Kyle Walker was in Enfield meeting fans and children on the Topps Match Attax Tour, following the launch of the Match Attax Championship Edition football trading card game. For further information, please visit toppsfootball.co.uk

PA

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