Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tottenham v Monaco: Jardim to rely on youngsters for Europa League progress

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 8 Dec 2015

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Leonardo Jardim hopes Monaco’s promising youngsters can lead the way against Tottenham on Thursday and seal progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

The Ligue 1 side face an uphill task to make it through the group stages after their 2-0 home defeat to Anderlecht two weeks ago.

They sit third in Group J with six points from five games heading into Thursday’s encounter and not only need to see off Spurs, but must also hope their Belgian rivals drop points at home to Qarabag.

Jardim refuses to throw in the towel just yet, though, and hopes they can build on their 2-1 win over Bastia on Saturday, suggesting their good form away from home could make the difference.

“The team is progressing. We were aggressive against Bastia at the weekend,” Jardim said at a news conference.

“It was an important victory because we achieved it with a lot of young players, which corresponds to the club’s project of developing youngsters.

“It is great to win matches and that is always our ambition.

“It is difficult to explain why we are better away from home, but the team will continue to develop.”

Jardim will have to make do without a number of first-team regulars, though, with Guido Carrillo (calf), Fabio Coentrao (thigh), Ivan Cavaleiro (back), Joao Moutinho (hip), Thomas Lemar (ankle) and Jeremy Toulalan (thigh) all expected to miss the trip to White Hart Lane.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have already booked their ticket for the last 32, but will be looking to clinch top spot in the group.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men lead the table with 10 points, three clear of second-placed Anderlecht.

Tottenham and Monaco played out a 1-1 draw on matchday two in their first meeting in UEFA competition, but the Premier League side have reasons for optimism thanks to their fine record against French opposition, with just one defeat in seven matches.

Additionally, Tottenham have won both of their European home matches this term and are unbeaten in seven Europa League fixtures at White Hart Lane – winning five of those – since a 3-1 loss to Benfica in March 2014.

Pochettino will be without the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard on Thursday, who are all being plagued by ankle injuries, while the Tottenham manager could also opt to rest key players such as Harry Kane, Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier ahead of a busy Christmas period.

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