A loss to Maribor on Thursday wouldn't disqualify Tottenham from Europa League play, but Spurs need to win.
Andre Villas-Boas set his sights on the Europa League crown when he joined Tottenham this summer, but the first three matches have not gone as the Portuguese had planned.
Spurs sit in third place in Group J after three draws to start the campaign, including a 1-1 draw with Maribor on Oct. 25 that saw the two clubs split time of possession and Spurs register just three shots on goal.
The pressure in Tottenham has grown since then, with the 1-0 Premier League loss to Wigan on Saturday being the icing on the cake. The Londoners put forth a cringeworthy display in that match. Knowing that matches against Manchester City and Arsenal await, fans booed the club, particularly noticeable when Villas-Boas substituted Emmanuel Adebayor in for England striker Jermain Defoe.
Defoe ended up storming off the field after the substitution.
Villas-Boas wasn't happy with it, via ESPN:
For sure it is not something that is very pleasing to see. The most important thing for the players to realise is that we do things for the benefit of the team. We understand individual frustrations but we, as a team, are more important.
Adebayor is expected to start for Defoe against Maribor on Thursday, per ESPN, but Villas-Boas has made it clear that it isn't because of Defoe's outburst against Wigan.
Either way, the Portuguese better hope Adebayor and Co. bounce back against the Slovenian champions on Thursday or it's going to be even more ugly in Tottenham. This is about more than just a win or a loss; it's about restoring a sense of order and building confidence.
Things can snowball in a hurry in the world of football. If Spurs lose their composure against Maribor on Thursday, it could turn into an avalanche.