4 Reasons to Believe Tottenham Can Win the Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur finally grabbed the first win of their Europa League campaign at the fourth time of asking with a 3-1 win over Maribor at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.
After three straight draws, the win puts Spurs second in Group J, two points behind leaders Lazio, and the Londoners can now think seriously about progressing into the knockout phase.
Here are four reasons why Spurs can start to believe that they can go all the way in the competition this season.
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Tottenham head coach Andre Villas-Boas cut his reputation as the most promising young coach in Europe by leading Porto to Europa League glory in 2011.
He won the Portuguese league by going the whole season unbeaten, as well as claiming the Portuguese Cup, but it was the way Porto stormed to the third and final part of their treble which really caught the eye.
The coach knows what it takes to get a winner's medal in Europe's secondary club competition and how to negotiate the grueling campaign which can take almost 20 matches to win. That experience could prove invaluable.
Teams Dropping Down from Champions League
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Any side which drops down from Ajax's group—which also includes Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City—will be among the favourites to win the Europa League, but Juve could still grab second in their group at the expense of Shakhtar Donetsk.
Benfica would also pose a significant threat if they were to finish third in their group, but Spurs would at least feel they can compete against most of the other sides who could potentially drop down.
They Have the Players
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Villas-Boas has not shied away from playing many of his top players in the Europa League. Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen all played in the win over Maribor.
But he has also fielded plenty of players who are either on the fringes of the first team or who have come up through the youth ranks and so far, the approach has paid off.
Should they reach the knockout phase, then the number of teenagers in the side would certainly drop, but Spurs have enough depth in their squad to be able to rotate and still compete both domestically and at Europe.
They Want to Win It
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Villas-Boas is bound to treat the competition seriously, seeing as he made his name by winning it, but he has made no bones about the fact he wants to lift the trophy for a second time.
AVB said back in September before his team's opening group game against Lazio (as reported by the BBC): "We want to do something special in this competition… If we can win a trophy, that represents a lot for Tottenham Hotspur's history as well and would be something really special."
While other clubs might not take the competition with the utmost respect, even in the latter stages, Spurs are unlikely to take the same attitude.