Saturday 17 March 2018

Europa League an opportunity not a punishment -- Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas is struggling to understand why the Europa League is valued so poorly in England.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager's career took off two years ago when he won the competition with Porto. In that campaign he won four trophies, then replaced Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea.

Former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp described participating in the tournament as a "punishment" but ahead of today's Group J encounter in Panathinaikos his successor said: "The profile of the competition is raised in other countries, but not England. I don't understand it.

"I'm also not in a position to criticise other managers' approach to the competition. I respect the competition. I certainly think it is viewed as a punishment in England and I cannot understand why. It is a traditional trophy.

"We have lost the Cup Winners' Cup, which I did not think was a good decision. But it was taken to enrich the Europa League."

Villas- Boas believes success in Europe can help Tottenham's chances of lifting the ultimate prize in European football.

"For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League, we have to get used to playing in these situations, both physically and mentally," he said. "I am always to field the strongest team possible. And that can be a benefit in the learning process."

Panathinaikos v Tottenham Hotspur,

Live, 3e/ITV4, 6.0

Irish Independent

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