AVB: Big opportunity for Spurs

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas believes his team have a great opportunity to close in on the knockout stages of the Europa League with victory over Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova.

Last Updated: 24/10/13 at 22:25 Post Comment

Andre Villas-Boas: Tottenham boss knows his side are close to qualification

Andre Villas-Boas: Tottenham boss knows his side are close to qualification

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

A win for the north London club on Thursday would make it three successes in as many games in Group K and open a clear lead at the top of the table.

And Spurs' progress to the next phase would be assured if Anzhi Makhachkala draw with Tromso in the night's other game.

The Tottenham manager told the club's website: "We have a big opportunity to get to nine points and maybe qualify at such an early stage.

"That motivation is key for us and is a big opportunity."

As for their opponents, Sheriff have secured the Moldovan title 11 times in 13 years and Villas-Boas added: "The conditions here are great.

"They are influenced by the Brazilians they have: Six Brazilians, very creative players and particularly in midfield.

"They are a counter attacking team which break quickly so we have to be aware.

"But we also must keep to our own principles and stay solid in defence."

Experience

Spurs midfielder Lewis Holtby is enjoying Spurs' Europa League trips - even if he thought tonight's opponents Sheriff Tiraspol were a club in Northern Ireland, not Eastern Europe.

The clash at the Moldovan champions is one of several tough away days faced by Villas-Boas' side in this year's competition, although one midfielder Holtby thought was a little closer to home.

"I had never heard of Sheriff before," the Germany international said. "I thought they were based in Northern Ireland.

"But coming to places like this is always an experience, especially for young players.

"You learn a lot coming to these types of countries and playing these types of teams.

"It is important to take these kind of atmospheres into your game. You learn a lot of things. So from that point of view it's nice to have a group like this."

Few can blame Holtby for not knowing much about Sheriff. Dominant in the Moldovan top flight, they hail from the capital of Transnistria - a self-announced breakaway state unrecognised by an sovereign nation.

"I only heard of it 20 minutes before we arrived," said Holtby, who admitted sleeping across the border.

"I got told it was a country within Moldova. That's a new one on me but a good experience to take with me and it has improved my geography.

"I am very pleased to be here. I can tell my grandchildren that I played in a part of Moldova that isn't Moldova."

The Stadionul Sheriff is sold out for Thursday evening's clash and more than 200 Tottenham fans are expected at the Group K clash.

"We have to be ready for them because it is going to be their cup final," Holtby added.

"Every opponent we face in the Europa League sees us as the bigger side.

"We are Tottenham Hotspur, we are a fantastic club, we have got quality players throughout the squad, so everybody is buzzing when they play against us.

"It makes us proud to be in that position. But we are only concerned with trying to get our win, continuing our 100 per cent points tally and qualifying from the group as quickly as possible."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: The pressure's on

B

eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

G

ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

uncle-muller
F365's Top Ten Counter-Attacking Goals

Footer 365

FIFA could face UK criminal probe from Serious Fraud Office

The Serious Fraud Office is looking into claims of corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Scottish football: Aleksandar Tonev's appeal against seven-game ban to be heard on December 4

Celtic winger Aleksandar Tonev will find out on December 4 if his appeal against a seven-match ban has been successful.

Cesc Fabregas buries hatchet with Sergio Ramos over Spain row

Cesc Fabregas says he has spoken to Spain team-mate Sergio Ramos after the Real Madrid star questioned his commitment to the national team.

Mail Box

Mails: Quit Massaging Mourinho's Ego

That's the message from the afternoon mailbox after it was claimed that the Chelsea boss has transformed Cesc Fabregas into a complete player. Plus, more on Arsenal...

F365: Saving You From Bad Relationships

A cracking Mailbox, with thoughts on Chelsea, Willian, Jurgen Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and Aguero. Plus how Football365 saved one man from an unhappy relationship...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property