Andre Villas-Boas will target a second UEFA Europa League title when Tottenham’s campaign gets underway against Tromso on Thursday.
The Portuguese manager won the competition with Porto in 2010-11 as part of a treble in his first season in charge of the club.
It elevated Villas-Boas onto the world stage as he became the youngest manager to win a European title, at the age of just 33.
His attempts to bring the trophy to White Hart Lane were thwarted at the quarter-final stage last season, when Basel halted Tottenham’s progress on penalties after the tie finished 4-4 on aggregate.
The London club only lost once in normal time in last year’s Europa League – a 4-1 away defeat to Inter in another two-legged affair in which eight goals were shared, with a solitary away strike securing Tottenham’s progress.
Their home record remained unblemished, with four victories and two draws, and they will be favourites to extend that unbeaten run against their Norwegian visitors.
Etienne Capoue will miss the White Hart Lane match with the ankle injury that he sustained in the 1-0 loss to Arsenal, Tottenham’s only defeat of the season, while fellow midfielder Nacer Chadli suffered a knock on international duty with Belgium and could also be absent.
Tromso are competing in the group stages of the competition for the first time, having been knocked out at the qualifying phase in three previous attempts.
They have played eight matches across four ties to get this far, with their two-legged success over Turkish club Besiktas in the play-offs undoubtedly their most impressive scalp.
Their domestic form has suffered, though, and after finishing fourth last term, they now sit 13th, just one place above a relegation play-off spot.
But Agnar Christensen’s men highlighted their ability to cause a shock when they beat league leaders Rosenborg on Sunday.
Midfielder Magnus Andersen’s goal, his fourth of the campaign, proved decisive as Tromso ended their nine-match winless run in the league.
Remi Johansen carries Tromso’s most potent goalscoring threat, with the striker having scored seven times in 20 league appearances this season.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!