The Cost of Europa League


Tottenham’s progress in the nuisance that is the Europa League has already started to take its toll on our Champions League qualification hopes.

We dropped vital points at the weekend to a much fresher Liverpool side thanks to (calamitous defending aside) our Thursday night fixture against Inter Milan.

Not only did we miss Aaron Lennon’s pace and width down the right flank on Sunday but we also missed his defensive prowess.  All three of Liverpool’s goals stemmed from them exploiting our defensive insufficiencies down our right hand side, an area where Lennon is adequately capable of providing cover.

During the second half of the Inter game on Thursday it was reported that AVB had asked Lennon if he wanted to come off and be rested.  We were 3-0 up at the time and with the tie seemingly in the bag, Lennon had contributed greatly to the match and a rest would have been well warranted.  However, Lennon declined the offer and subsequently picked up an injury that would rule him out of our vital Premier League fixture against Liverpool three days later.  For me, AVB should never offer his players the option to stay on the pitch or not.  I admire his man-management skills (and what he was trying to achieve in this case by showing trust in his players) but AVB should have viewed the bigger picture and not taken the risk of Lennon picking up an injury.

We also looked quite heavy-legged in the second half on Sunday.  After conceding our third goal we didn’t really create any more chances to get an equaliser, which arguably could be due to our exertions against Inter.

It is probable that we are going to progress past Inter Milan into the Quarter-Finals of the Europa League.  Whilst it is good for our reputation that we are achieving results in a major European competition, I just hope that it does not affect our Premier league form and jeopardise our chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season.  If it does then it may result in us losing our greatest asset this summer – Gareth Bale.  Is it worth the risk? Not for me.

By Alex Burkwood

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  1. Can't blame the Europa League can't acount for players mistakes would of won cause at 2-1 only one side looked like scoring and that was us Liverpool caused us no problems

  2. How is it any different if we were in CL? It's about being able to balance the two. But agree Lennon should have been taken off, not given the option.

  3. Football clubs need glory nights for the fans, for the clubs reputation, to attract players, to attract new fans. We also have to build the club to compete on various fronts. I totally appreciate the need to secure Champions League football is important for all the reasons I just stated but European cup glory should not be considered an unwanted distraction. Being able to win it and secure a Champions League is a real indication of where the club is at. I say push on. Bring glory to the Lane and achieve on the two key fronts we have left. It is a great position to be in and we have the players and manger to make it happen.

  4. When we scored the third goals in the first half last Thursday, I told my brother that if I were the manager, I would take out Bale, Lennon and Defoe immediately or after the half time break at the latest. It should be done to avoid injury, give regular players more rest time and also give young players (such as Tom Carroll) more game time.

    Champion League qualification should always be of first priority. Don’t take the risk especially it may lead to our loss of Bale.

  5. Agree with all comments. We could win the Europa league, and that would be great! Choosing to win the fourth place trophy over a European cup is a sad indictment of football today.

    Yes, AVB should have taken Lennon off. Even with the benefit of hindsight it seemed a good idea at the time: not only saving Lennon’s legs, and avoiding injury, but also giving playing time and match sharpness to another member of the squad.

    I think people are overly harsh on our performance against Liverpool. Not wanting to sound like Brendan Rodgers, but that was some of the best football we’ve played this season. We looked really fluid and expansive; the whole team seemed to be playing with confidence and verve. Vertonghen and Dembele were a cut above everyone on the pitch, and the ‘scapegoating’ of Livermore is lazy. Everyone played well. Four uncharacteristic errors were made, two a piece per goal. So much were we in control of the game that we had to make TWO errors for Liverpool to score each of the two goals that took the points away from us.

  6. I think ur wrong apart from 2 mistakes on sunday we bossed liverpool away and that’s r first loss in 13, so no. Dnt agree wth u about the europa being a distracton we should go out ad try to win every game and every competition we enter plus r we gna b using this same excuse if we make CL next season. Plus were amongst the fav to win it which we wouldn’t be in the CL. And I also like the fact he asked lennon if he was tired obviously he weren’t and he was up for it showng hunger we need that mentality in the squad the innjury didn’t happen coz avb didn’t take him off that’s football ad ca happen at ne time. Also the people saying avb should have taken off r 3 best players at half time are wrong. We were at home so it was important to keep r best players on the pitch coz if inter scored 1 or 2 after ne subs this tie would b completely diffrent. So I would like to applaud avb for taking this comp seriously and let’s hope we can win it. #COYS

  7. At last, I was wondering how long before fans started to wake up to the implications of competing for the Europa Cup and the impact this has on qualifying for the Champ's league. It's a huge risk that requires careful management and I regret to say that AVB was wrong to compromise Aaron Lennon particularly after 3-0. I also have an issue with playing 'Brad the Lad' in the Europa Cup. Goal Keepers need continuity and therefore believe Hugo Lloris should be playing in both competitions mainly to reinforce a greater understanding between the Goal Keeper and back four. Unless of course, you believe in sentiment.

  8. Alex, you are barking up the wrong tree. It would make no difference if it was Europa League or Champions League – and lets face it , it would be great to win Silverware of any shape or form. You ask the 36,000 at The Lane last week if they want the Europa Cup and it will be a resounding 'Yes'. We now potentially have a squad that could win the Cup and also be in the Champions League. So stop being negative Alex and get behind the team.

  9. I think that the winners of the Europa Cup should automatically qualify for the Champions League next season and therefore this problem would be solved for all the clubs and fans.


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