Andre Villas-Boas hopes Tottenham can use Europa League exit as catalyst for top-four push
Spurs went out on penalties to Basel
Friday 12 April 2013
Andre Villas-Boas hopes the disappointment of Tottenham's Europa League exit can act as a catalyst in their charge for a top-four finish.
After red cards, an off-the-pitch stabbing, racist chanting and two last-gasp wins, Spurs saw their hopes of European success end in fittingly dramatic style at the quarter-final juncture.
Having been held to a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane, Villas-Boas' side took the lead at St Jakob-Park through Clint Dempsey.
Basle hit back through Mohamed Salah and Aleksandr Dragovic, only for Dempsey to take the game to extra time by making it 4-4 on aggregate with his second of the night.
Spurs did well considering they had to do without Jan Vertonghen after his sending-off late in regulation time, with penalties eventually proving their undoing.
Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor failed from the spot, meaning Tottenham's full focus is now on securing Champions League football.
"We wanted to be in it," Spurs boss Villas-Boas said. "The fact we are not in it will allow us longer weeks to prepare for league games.
"We have six games left before the season finishes. That is the reality.
"Ideally we wanted to be there [in the semi-finals] but, if it's going to serve as something good, it will definitely allow more time for the players to rest.
"We can't over-train even though the weeks become longer, with the habits becoming dramatically different for us.
"It's six games left for the rest of the season and we hope to be fully ready to respond."
Despite remaining upbeat, the Portuguese was understandably frustrated with his side's exit from the competition he won with Porto.
"Obviously we are extremely disappointed," Villas-Boas added. "We did ever so well to cancel the two goals from White Hart Lane.
"I think we played a better game this time round. Both teams were very attacking so compliments to both, with eight goals in two ties.
"In penalties anything can happen and it wasn't our day - it's part of the game.
"I think within all of this disappointment we are extremely happy to set a great standard and a great example this season for English football for the way we approach this competition."
Chelsea, Fenerbahce, Benfica and Basle make up the four semi-finalists, with the latter's manager, Murat Yakin, excited by the prospect of another upset.
"We are of course all happy," the former Switzerland international said. "You can see the great atmosphere and the players' celebrations. It is just great.
"It was the fruits of our hard work. The first leg was decisive, I would say.
"It is a great competition. We showed that we wanted to do well in this competition and stay in it. The match was not like I thought it would be, but at the end we made it through and that is the most important thing."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food