Andre Villas-Boas has insisted that Tottenham will take the UEFA Europa League seriously ahead of their clash with Anzhi Makhachkala.
Villas-Boas’ men started the competition in fine form, beating Norwegian outfit Tromso 3-0 in their opening encounter.
Tottenham reached the quarter-finals of last year’s tournament, succumbing to Swiss side Basel in a penalty shootout after the tie had finished 4-4 on aggregate.
The London club are eager to finish in the top four of the Premier League and clinch a place in the UEFA Champions League for next season, but Villas-Boas – who won the Europa League with Porto in 2011 – is keen to secure his first silverware with Tottenham in Europe’s second-tier competition.
“We had high expectations last season, we will continue with our expectations this season,” he told UEFA’s official website.
“It’s a trophy that means a lot to Tottenham, last year we embraced the competition in a very serious way and we will continue to do so this season.”
Their next encounter comes against an Anzhi side that has suffered a considerable downturn in recent times, with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Willian and Yuri Zhirkov all leaving the club amid financial restrictions imposed by the club’s hierarchy.
The Russian side have yet to taste victory in any competition so far this campaign, and could only manage a draw with Moldovan club Sheriff in their first group game.
Tottenham will undoubtedly be favourites for the game at the Stadion Saturn, but they are set to be without a number of first-team players.
Midfielder Etienne Capoue and winger Aaron Lennon (both ankle) are definitely out, while Younes Kaboul (groin), Danny Rose (ankle) are both doubtful.
Striker Emmanuel Adebayor has overcome an illness, but he is unlikely to be involved after being forced to train with the reserves following off-the-field issues.
Ivorian forward Lacina Traore (shoulder) is Anzhi’s most notable absentee, with Alexandru Epureanu (knee) and Ilya Maksimov also unavailable.