Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas says that English clubs view the Europa League as a punishment, not a privilege to play in.
Spurs face Panathinaikos in Greece on Thursday night, and the former Porto boss who won the competition in Portugal admitted his confusion at the competition’s treatment in England.
“The profile of the competition is raised in other countries, but not England,” Villas-Boas told reporters.
“I don’t understand it. I’m also not in a position to criticise other managers’ approach to the competition.
“But ask my goalkeeping coach Tony Parks about when he won the UEFA Cup (the predecessor to the Europa League) with our club in 1984.
“When English clubs were later banned from Europe, it was every single club’s ambition to play in European competitions.
“I respect the competition. I certainly think it is viewed as a punishment in England and I cannot understand why. It is a traditional trophy.”
Tottenham are expected to make some changes against Panathinaikos with Hugo Lloris replacing Brad Friedel in goal, but they will largely remain the same with Jan Verthongen, Sandro, Clint Dempsey, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe all expected to start.
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