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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