Tottenham will have revenge in mind when they travel to face Fiorentina on Thursday for the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie.
Spurs’ European campaign came to an end in Florence last year as a 2-0 win for the hosts saw them progress 3-1 on aggregate before bowing out in the semi-finals to eventual winners Sevilla.
The bulk of that Spurs side still remain at White Hart Lane but Mauricio Pochettino’s side are a different prospect 12 months on, having beaten Manchester City on Sunday to fuel talk of a sustained Premier League title challenge.
Spurs trail surprise leaders Leicester City by just two points and remain in the hunt for FA Cup and European success during the Argentinian’s second campaign.
Full-back Danny Rose has been among Spurs’ most improved players this term and believes his coach’s methods are beginning to pay off.
“He’s instilled a great work ethic – one that I’ve not experienced from any other manager,” Rose told the club’s official website. “He wants you to work very hard in training and if you don’t then he’ll let you know!
“Once you work hard Monday to Friday then it will happen naturally in the game as it [did on Sunday]. Everything starts from training, everything on the pitch comes from training and how well we work.”
Pochettino will be without Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie (both knee) while Nacer Chadli and Nabil Bentaleb will be pushing to feature after respective ankle problems.
Paulo Sousa’s Fiorentina also picked up an important win on Sunday – edging European rivals Inter 2-1 to move into Serie A’s final Champions League spot.
After some rocky form during December and January, Fiorentina are now unbeaten in five matches and have yet to lose – or concede a goal – in five home encounters against English teams.
“We’re happy to be in the Europa League. It’s a prestigious competition for the club and for the city,” said Sousa who is set to be without Milan Badelj (thigh) again.
“This group has really improved over the course of the campaign. The lads know what they’re capable of now.
“I think the squad has matured as a group and that’s down to all the hard work they’ve put in.
“Even though perhaps we’ve not always been consistent in our play, our fitness has been good throughout the season – our analysis shows that.”
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