Tottenham to field strong team in Europe

Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham HotspurTottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has stated that he respects the Europa League and will field his strongest possible side against Panathinaikos on Thursday night.

Harry Redknapp berated the competition last year as a curse, however the Portuguese trainer is eager to achieve success on the continent.

“The profile of the competition is raised in other countries, but not England. I don’t understand it,” he told reporters, published in The Sun.

“I’m also not in a position to criticise other managers’ approach to the competition. But ask my goalkeeping coach Tony Parkes about when he won the UEFA Cup with our club in 1984.

“When English clubs were later banned from Europe it was every single club’s ambition to play in European competitions.

“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. It’s full of tradition, particularly in England, so that’s what surprises me about this attitude even more.

“The overall objective is to get the points to progress in this competition. But there is obviously an education process that goes with that.

“For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League I think we have to get used to playing in these situations, both physically and mentally.

“There is a rotation of players that can happen in certain positions. But I am always looking to field the strongest team possible,” he concluded.

Spurs drew with Lazio 0-0 in their first game in the tournament.