Francis seeking summer holiday

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The Independent Online
Gerry Francis, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, believes his side must win at Newcastle United tonight if they are to have any chance of playing in Europe next season.

Spurs are six points behind sixth-placed Leeds with a game in hand, and Francis has ruled out participation in the Intertoto Cup. But even if they win tomorrow, they may still have to rely on others for a Uefa Cup place.

"We've got to get three points to put pressure on Leeds and even Newcastle," Francis said. "There are still so many permutations if Manchester United win the League or Blackburn win the League and United lose the FA Cup. Even sixth place may not be good enough.

"Whatever happens, we've still had a fantastic run since November which is probably second to none. But we wouldn't want to enter the Intertoto Cup. I can't see how we could get the players to play in it or where we would play.

"Our pitch will need a lot of work on it in the close season, players are away on international duty and, anyway, they need a proper rest. I can't see how the Premier League can call for a reduction in the number of games and then offer this as a carrot for teams to get into Europe by playing throughout the summer.

"That would mean football all year round and that is not fair on anyone at the club."

Terry McDermott believes tonight's encounter could be a memorable occasion. "It should be an open, attacking game for I am sure Spurs will come here looking for nothing less than a victory," Newcastle's assistant manager said. "We don't want to lose this one and I know our fans will get behind the team as they always do. It could be one of the greatest games of the season."

Spurs' Gica Popescu is out for the rest of the season with a slight groin tear. Francis adds Danny Hill, Gerard McMahon and the former Newcastle defender Kevin Scott to his squad.