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Spurs relishing Basel test

Tottenham’s director of football administration Darren Eales expects a tough challenge against FC Basel in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Spurs advanced to the final eight of the competition after a dramatic away-goals win over Inter on Thursday.

And Eales is refusing to take the Swiss outfit lightly ahead of their two-legged encounter.

“We are optimistic going into it,” he said. “We are in a quarter-final, we think we have got a chance like all the other teams to go through to Amsterdam and hopefully win it.

“But it is going to be a tough game obviously. We know Basel, they are doing very well in the Swiss league.

“We had a tough game against Young Boys a couple of seasons ago in the Champions League playoffs so we know it is going to be tricky but we are looking forward to it.

“They have already beaten Dnipro and Zenit and we had our own close call last night (against Internazionale).

“We saw that the keeper for Basel made a great penalty save for Basel near the end and he looks like a real talent.”

Eales also spoke about the club’s delight at avoiding an English club in the next round of the Europa League.

“From a fan’s perspective, Europe is about playing teams you have not played against, going to countries that you wouldn’t normally go to,” he added.

“So I think from a fan’s perspective we are very pleased to have FC Basel rather than one of the English clubs that we play every season.”

Another last-eight tie sees Portuguese giants Benfica take on Newcastle, and director of football Rui Costa believes his club can go on to win the Europa League.

“It will be a good match, we are two strong teams,” said the former Benfica midfielder. “But I think Benfica has a good chance of winning and we will give our best to get there.

“Benfica is a big club and, as so, it cannot allow itself to go into a competition without thinking about winning.

“We have the national league to fight for, that is our main target, but in all the competitions we are still playing, we will be playing to go as far as we can.”

Fri 15 Mar, 2013
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