Spurs prepare for Euro adventure
Published 05/08/2010 | 15:48
Tottenham will find out tomorrow who they will face in their first European Cup match for almost half a century when the Champions League play-off round draw is made.
Spurs, who finally qualified for Europe's premier club competition after finishing fourth in last season's Barclays Premier League, will be seeded for the draw, which begins at 11am in Nyon.
Victory in the two-leg tie, the first match of which is in the week commencing August 16, will hand Tottenham a place in the lucrative group stage of the competition.
There are five possible opponents for Harry Redknapp's men: Auxerre, Braga, Dynamo Kiev, Sampdoria and Young Boys.
The north Londoners will start as favourites regardless of who they draw but they will be particularly keen to avoid Dynamo, with trips to Kiev notoriously difficult.
Sampdoria would not be ideal either, whereas Young Boys would be expected to provide the least resistance.
Spurs - whose last European Cup campaign was back in 1961-62 - are the first club outside the Premier League's so-called 'big four' to qualify for the Champions League since Everton five years ago.
The Toffees failed to reach the group stage after losing to Villarreal over two legs.
Spurs' bid to avoid the same fate will not involve misfit midfielder Adel Taarabt, who today completed a permanent move to QPR for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £1m.
The Morocco international, who spent last season on loan at Loftus Road, pen to paper on a three-year deal with the npower Championship side.
Taarabt, 21, was hailed as the "new Zinedine Zidane" when he arrived at White Hart Lane from Lens for £3m in 2007, but he made just nine appearances for Spurs - who are taking a significant loss on the playmaker Harry Redknapp once described as "frightening".
Taarabt hit seven goals for Rangers last term but found himself out of the first team at times until Neil Warnock took charge in March.
He said: "I'm delighted to be back. I had options to go elsewhere, but what Neil said to me was very positive and I've made the decision to join QPR.
"Over the past year, everyone at the club has been great to me - it feels like home here.
"This is the first time in my life that I've had ambition. Before, I'd play football just to enjoy it, but now I've come to an age where I have to step up.
"I don't think there is a manager that wants me as much as Neil does. I feel the club will move forward under him - I've come here because next year I want to play in the Premier League."