Jol will take Uefa Cup glory above a top-four finish

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The Independent Online

Martin Jol would prefer the glory of winning the Uefa Cup this season to qualifying for the Champions' League and then struggling in Europe's top competition.

Spurs were pipped by Arsenal to fourth place in the Premiership last season but the consolation of reaching the Uefa Cup, which they won in 1972 and 1984, has given Jol's men the scent of silverware. The Dutchman believes being among the contenders in Europe's second-tier competition is more beneficial than the situation Everton found themselves in two years ago when confidence was hit after crashing out of the Champions' League early.

Spurs have a 100 per cent record in the Uefa Cup this season and will top Group B with a point against Dinamo Bucharest tonight, which would mean avoiding teams dropping out of the Champions' League.

"If you are in the Champions' League you could end up with a problem, but winning the Uefa Cup would be a big success for this club," he said. "Going into the Champions' League does not mean anything - it would mean we are in the top four in England but after that there are so many games to play until you can win something and I don't feel we are strong enough yet to win something in the Champions' League."

When asked which he would prefer, reaching the Champions' League or winning the Uefa Cup, he added: "I would like to win the Uefa Cup. In the Uefa Cup in the last 10 years there are seven or eight teams from different countries winning. That gives us a chance, we could probably be one of them. It depends on the draw as well, Werder Bremen are the best team in Germany at the moment, better than Bayern Munich."

The prospect of lifting a trophy also excites captain Ledley King, who was injured towards the end of last season and missed out as Spurs just failed to hold on to fourth place. He has since needed an operation on his knee but insists his fitness is no longer a concern, while Jol rates him as Spurs' best player in recent matches.

"I am aware that Spurs were the first winners of the competition and so are the other players, so we definitely want to get our names on the trophy and make a bit more history," said King. "The players are aware that winning the league is not something we are likely to do at the moment but the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Uefa Cup are chances of silverware for us. So we are taking these cups seriously and there is a feeling in the Uefa Cup that we could go all the way."

King, at 26, is considered a senior member of a young Spurs squad which Jol believes could eventually make an impression on the Champions' League.

"That is what we want," he said. "We are building a new team like five or six other teams, like Arsenal for example. It is not easy because sometimes you lose a player and you have to start again but overall when you look at the progress of Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson, I feel they could be potentially top players. It could take longer than Chelsea, because they buy the finished article and we don't. But this is probably as exciting."

Jermain Defoe has picked up a hamstring injury and will require a late check.

Tottenham Hotspur (probable, 4-4-2): Robinson; Chimbonda, King, Dawson, Lee; Lennon, Huddlestone, Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Mido.

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