Did the Europa League cost us?
Forget the debate over 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, what we should be asking is whether the Europa league cost us at least a point yesterday?
Now, I have regularly criticised the Europa league for both its format and also its timing and it was clear yesterday that several Spurs players looked absolutely knackered against City and in the case of some like Jan Vertonghen, who can blame him? This isn't looking for excuses, as you shouldn't have to do that after a 2-1 away defeat against the current Premiership title holders, but as I mentioned in my pre match article, City having two extra days to rest and also prepare, could have made a huge difference, especially when we were pretty much down to the bare bones for players.
Of course we could have played the kids against Maribor, but in a must win game, you just know that an already highly criticised AVB would have been slaughtered if we played too many and didn't get a win. Just looking at our squad and the injured players, it is obvious that Villas-Boas didn't have too many senior options and with the game so tight at 2-1 for so long, he had an obvious banana skin, should he have chosen to rest players early and Maribor had clawed themselves back into the game.
Previously, I have suggested that the Premier league help competing teams by potentially moving games back 24 hours, but of course TV will always win the day or as in this week, any chance of playing tonight would have been scuppered by a meaningless international, so unless UEFA were to reschedule their own timing, it looks like we are stuffed, but does it make managers fielding understrength teams all the more understandable when your domestic form suffers as a result?
Maybe there is a potential to schedule Champions league and Europa league games in alternating weeks, which gives them a greater spread of games for TV etc, but might also allow the possibility to play Europa games on a Tuesday and Wednesday. Perhaps the Domestic competitions might have to be a little more flexible, but is that a small price to pay for English clubs being able to take the Europa league more seriously and actually try to win the thing instead of looking at it as a disruption? If I'm honest, I don't know the answer and without someone at the top showing greater vision, the Europa league will always be a second rate competition, which is not good for anyone...
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