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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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The journalist

Writer: OxfordSpur Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 12 2012

Time: 11:59AM

Your Comments

Yes, the problem is that we did not qualify early by drawing the first games so have been unable to rotate. However that should have been balanced with the benefits of having a settled side but confidence seems to be draining away.
Love totty
Please have a read of this:
spu 4 life
No! Poor tactics, poor off season signings, and injuries cost us.
I think it was important to put a strong team out on Thursday. After the Wigan game the team had to get the crowd on their side and it it was for an important winnable competition. There was always only a small chance of us getting anything out of the City game. COYS.
No...having injuries in key positions cost us....having d1ck head media and d1ck head fans putting AVB and the team under so much UNNECESSARY pressure and scrutiny was/is/will cost us. Even the so called Spurs legend pundits like Hoddle and Redknapp p1ssed me off saying they found dropping Defoe for Ade as "astonishing" wtf!! Ade was perfeck fit and choice for that game as he proved in the first half....Once we get players back we can freshen team and rotate more and hopefully get the results to match the improved performance COYMFS!!!
I agree that it would be good to reschedule Europa League games on Wednesdays the week before or after CL games, but I suspect that this wouldn't work with internationals or cup fixtures, but I don't think that the issue yesterday was one of fatigue. Essentially if we are going to play 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 we need a mobile creative midfielder (was Modric, could be Dembele, isn't Tom Huddlestone) to drive play forwards. I just hope Dembele is back firing on all cylinders for next Saturday - our immediate hope of redemption. COYS!
Well said JattYid! Totally agree
Yep well said JattYid
The Europa league always costs English teams sooner or later. If we were to reach the final we would play 17 more games than Everton, anyone who doesn't think that would give them a huge advantage in the league race is kidding themselves. Every season seems to follow the same pattern, fans start out saying how important it is to field strong teams in the Europa. Later, as reality bites, questions start being asked.
''Maybe there is a potential to schedule Champions league and Europa league games in alternating weeks'' That's one possible solution, but it would still mean, if the game is on wed, we would play sat, sunday or monday if it's shown on TV. This has little bearing on our results, if you look at fixtures and results on the web site, it has no pattern that playing thursday and again on sunday makes any difference, in september we had a very good month, sunday at man city was not the fault of beating maribor, we can sit and question the sub's we made over and over, it will not change the score, it's to late. We have until saturday 17th away at that other lot over the road, with a mid-week england friendly (another pi$$ poor game) to hope our players involved don't get injured, after this game we go to Lazio on thursday 22nd, Wet Spam at home on sunday 25th, then Liverpool home on wednesday 28th, that concludes all November fixtures. AVB is doing the right thing, his giving players a chance to show what they can do, his using rotation to put out a side, he feels can do the job, I still feel he does no know hs strongest side yet, Dembele is looking likely to return next saturday lunchtime, as long as this week goes ok, we then have Kaboul, Parker and BAE to return 3 excellent players, every team has injuries, but then i don't care much for every team, all i care about is THFC same as all of you, maybe getting to January and the turn of the year, we will have all the squad back to pick from, maybe we will still be in europa, it's got a final with Ajax written all over it, maybe we will add some new blood in the next window, we may even have a run of games after Jan 1 unbeaten, un-like previous fall aways. who knows. AVB is doing his best, so our the players, but we know how long can you keep saying ''building for the future and well always next season'' take note Mr Levy, us older ones have seen us win things, i would like that again, Do you?
spu 4 life
Jod we went straight into the group stage of the Europa League so correct me if im wrong isnt that the same number of games as a team competing in the Champ League? Also we have same number day rest (unless tuesday champ league game) as half the teams competing in champ league so i really dont understand the theory how Europa League facks up a teams campaign? You spend the whole season trying to get in European tournaments then some managers cant wait to get knocked out of them!
Jattyid, absolutely!! Spot on! Its another media cliche trotted out that people just accept because its said enough times. Completely agree with your post mate. Also the whole 'UEFA Cup is a distraction' thing is yet another example of Spurs fans seemingly inflated expectations, call it what you will. Just because we have had ONE season of CL football, suddenly no other competition matters or is good enough for us. I remember when Jol first qualified we were taking 10-15,000 fans all over Europe and WHL was absolutely buzzing on Euro nights. I just don't get it. What happened? Lazio is a glamour couple of ties and if we get to the knock-outs it will really come alive. We waited 20 years to return to regular Euro football. I love being in Europe and would love to bring back the famous old trophy.
Question: Perhaps i simply dont understand the game (which is ok cos i still love THFC!) but can someone explain to me why it seems in every game we are short of players in the midfiled despite the 4-2-3-1 system which is surely designed to pack the midfiled? Do we simply lack the mentality to be a solid winning team, or are our best players actually a hinderence on their own? Let me explain part two of that question: when i compare the effectiveness of Tevez, Silva, and Aguero tracking back and pressuring defenders to Lennon, Bale and Dempsey watching Man city players pass around it almost seems that our players have the mentality that they are there to attack only and do nothing to help win balls back, yet every other team we play seem to put 11 players on the filed that actually want to win the ball back and work hard to do so?
Well I always thought it was so unrealistic when he said we would challenge for all 4 competitions with the small squad we have. I know most people was excited summer when we was selling our players, but look at what we have left. What we need to do is prioritise and manage the squad accordingly.
No the Europa league wouldnt have effected anything, If Eddie Izzard can run 27 marathons in 27 days, playing 2 games a week should be a piece of p1ss for atheletes who are paid to train everyday. I was playing 3 games a week when i was younger for fun! and still managed to perform to my best.
Ossie i wouldnt say its unrealistic as when fit we still have pretty much 2 quality players for each position. Maybe not like for like in wingers and strikers dept but hopefully that 2 areas we rectify in Jan. Also with the calibre of young players coming through i feel AVB was justified in saying go for all 4 comps. The 14 players we got rid of in the summer was needed in my opinion we just need 2 worldy players in the attacking third now to give us an edge in tight games like yesterday Isco or Willian & Hunterlaar would be my choice
If the players want to be top players they need to be able to get up for 2 games a week now and again! Its entirely do-able - 2 90 minute games of football in 7 days! It wasn't even discussed when Jol was in charge - this is all a hangover from Harry embarrassingly 'throwing' every other competition in pursuit of 4th place and openly calling other trophies a distraction/punishment etc. In reality they were only a distraction from Harry's pursuit of his million pound bonus for finishing 4th! I personally am absolutely delighted that AVB wants to win trophies for the fans and club. Even that is used against him!
BTW please feel free to feel sorry for me, i was one result and one goal out from winning 100,000 on Gillette Soccer super 6...i even called arsenal 3-3 vs Fulham :(
In my opinion, nothing wrong with the team selection on both games. My criticism only lies in the choice of substitutions on Sunday - which unbalanced the team and tactics. You could argue that both goals came down Vertonghen's side, perhaps he is knackered. But Naughton has been available for a couple of weeks now. If you asked anyone to predict both games, 96% of non-biased people would say that Spurs would beat Maribor and lose to Citeh. What is the problem?
JattYid - Everton aren't in the Champions League, they have no European football to worry about, that's the point, that's why I mentioned them. Having a thin squad but some good players as they do, playing less games will be a big advantage for them. Extra games are extra games, at least in the Champions League you get some financial reward for them.
JattYid - dude. Was that to be "in with a chance of" 100 grand, or simply 100 grand?
Jatt possibly comment of the year. totally agree with maybe other than the ade substitution, i think the astonishment was that he was not brought on as well as Defoe rather than brining him on. Any premiership team who have Dembele, parker and kaboul long term injured with niggles to sandro and hunterlaar will lack a solid centre. Its the pressure of not taking full or any points on average teams which has built up pressure, not saturday
hunterlaar? meant vertonghen!!! the one who actually plays for us!
We don't have a small squad, Ossie. We have a lot of injuries and are a little short of quality in key areas. But I still say it should have good enough to qualify against the Greeks and Slovenes early enough to give guys a rest. AVB hasn't yet got the team playing well consistently and that's the worry. It's not just on here there is concern, the crowd are restless too so don't complain about the posters, SRV, we all want success but satisfactory performance would be a start.
Love totty
39% of the Spurs fan base on hear thought we would win against Citeh, in a ground they have not lost a league game for nearly 2 years. I wonder how many of them fans believe in AVB? Just curious!!
troffer2 - agree on Everton. 4th place will be a lower points total this year, and Everton will nick it from Arsenal and Spurs. If we do not start performing well, we won't even get 5th.
As for injuries - not an excuse. The only ones I count as injuries that cost us as Ekotto, Parker and Dembele. We have Kaboul covered a million times over. How good has Caulker been? We haven't missed Kaboul. 3 telling injuries is like Arsenal missing Wilshire, Sagna and Diaby. Man U missing Jones, Fletcher and Young. Please stop blaming injuries. My criticism with injuries is that it is now time to stop playing Vertonghen at left-back. He is only a stop-gap there. Naughton is back. If you do not want to drop him, then drop Gallas.
I think the poll was more aspiration than conviction, Yb.
Love totty
Delusion is probably closer
Love totty
Everton look very motivated this year thats for sure, not sure how they would fair if the lost there Belgian in the middle though. I agree with love Totty, the results arnt as big a concern as the way we have been performing so far this season.
I agree TR. It was Dembele who kick-started the team into the unbeaten run and his absence now is palpable. No-one else can carry the ball while others move into space.
Love totty
Here we go again another excuse is trolled out. What about the phases of the moon, or the colour of the wallpaper in the hotel, or perhaps they were kept awake by a firework party. Really, can't we just admit that we are now entering into a phase of fixtures that will result in us finding our true league position. We have enjoyed an unusually easy start, now the real stuff begins, let's see where we are at Christmas.
coys1717 - yep. Fellaini was injured for a few games, and they drew em. He comes back and he can't stop scoring or assisting. Everton's previous problem was that they played Tim Cahill there and forced Fellaini back. Cahill slowed down scoring-wise, and they hung on too long. Cahill was too expensive to be played there. Fellaini is a beast.
Well, no one is happy being below West Ham....
The only excuse that gets my goat is that which says you can't judge a coach until he puts together the squad. Rubbish. A good coach fulfills expectations. Tony Pullis does this. On the other hand Robbie D was considered not good enough for West Brom but then does the CL/FA cup double.
Love totty
our only problem is the creative midfield options. iv been watching Hudd closely since the start of the season and he has no apparent use.. he can pass the ball (taking his time doing so, and rarely penetrating the defence) and shoot from outside the box. he has no defensive quality and is slow in unleashing attacks. Dembele being fit is our only hope until Jan, unless Carroll can be used more.
Just had a look at Evertons fixutres, looks like they have a semi tough run after the reading game, hopefully there motivation will wain a bit in time for the new year. Everton: Tough games + loosing to Spurs at Home + Fellani getting injured = Hope to Spurs reclaiming 4th. Coz compared to us and Arsenal, Everton are the team that want it based how they've been playing.
Lets not use the EL as an excuse, the truth is yet again we have failed to hold a lead..............infact going on our form all season we need a two goal lead to have any chance of picking up 3 points!!
coys1717 - as "Love totty" says. 4th place is a pipe dream until we start performing. Everton HAVE performed well in a number of games. We haven't. 2 defeats on the bounce ain't helping, and performing poorly will not change it. Praying that their best players meet unfortunate accidents won't help either. In 2 games' time, it will be PAST a third of the season. You should be performing by then.
Stilll agree, your not going to find opposition to both your's or Tottys posts, my position is as follows, I believe L
pushed the wrong button...
TonyRich i thought you guarnteed 100k if you get 6/6 results 100% correct?
I beleive Levy appointed the wrong man, I dont think the players have responded to his tactics, i dont beleive the players have confidence in AVB. Until AVB can find a style that the players are comfortable with I can see us finishing above 7th. The results will come when the performance comes, ive said that since i was about 12. Also i dont remember using the word "praying" for a players dimise, that was a poor attempt at light hearted humour.
my poor attempt at light hearted humour
JattYid - I was asking you mate. I don't know.
So because it's always almost like mandatory for you to come out and post something (even if you've got nothing intelligent to say) you decided to publish this pile of crap? With all due respect what a stupid title question. Out of all possible reasons you had to resort to the most pathetic one: Europa League. Anyone with 1/100 of a brain knows that it has got nothing to do with inept tactics or indeed lacklustre performances we put up lately. Tottenham played Reading away after the EL match and won. Then Spurs had the full week to recover and failed miserably. To Wigan. At home. You are putting up a ridiculous article which is quite honestly a waste of time and space and expect everyone to seriously discuss it? As Frank said what next? A firework party? You should be ashamed of yourself. That's all.
coys1717 - I know mate. I was being humourous too. I did not want AVB either. And I do not believe his tactics will ever work in England. But he is here now, and we must see what he can achieve. I just feel that any team that under performs and has high number of wins, low number of draws and high number of losses is getting the tactics wrong.
Lol yeah Tony far as i know guarnteed 100k if you get 6/6 if you tie with someone else then it goes to your prediction of time the first goal of the day goes in
Don't remember ever reading an article by you Muscovite, interesting or otherwise. Churlish (and childish) of you to criticise someone else's effort.
Love totty
It wasn't an effort. It was a deliberate attempt to mask Spurs real issues by feeding us the EL bs. People are not idiots - they can see through things. It's not a rocket science to count El out of it and see where our real shortcomings are. All it takes is face the truth instead of hiding behind made up excuses and trying others to believe in them.
Ever heard of the expression, playing Devil's advocate? Ox has to keep the forum going and would welcome a contribution from you I'm sure.
Love totty
I've contributed enough to this topic to indicate that it shouldn't have been posted in a first place. I'm also sure that the author is bright enough to suggest a meaningful food for thought for the sake of argument like he arguably did countless times before. That's how it ends.
Yes. We did. And we should not bother with the EL, it is pants.
Cape Town Spurs
The problem is if we didn't draw the first three games it wouldn't be an issue to make huge changes in the lineup but since AVB has been handed a tough task of trying to beat 1 good side and 2 weak sides it seems like to much of a feat for him.
Good point OX, we are suffering in the last 20mins of some games. Vertoghen is knackered, does he have a fitness problem? Still,all credit to AVB taking the Europa seriously.
matt hoten
In a word - NO!!! Injuries have cost us!! Take the spine away from any top 4 team and you will struggle. City - toure, company and Silva. Arsenal - Vermalen, Arteta and Wilshire. Manure - Vidic, Carrick and Cleverly. Chelsea - terry, Hazard and Mata. Take those away from the respective teams and look at the results drop. We are missing 4 first team players. Give AVB a break FFS!!
Bullsxxt JattYid. It's the idxxt manager who used a full team and asked players to try so hard unnecessarily costs us. Please wake up. Blind support doesn't help our team. Innocent criticism can be driving force to move foreward.
Love totty You lot make it sound as if we were no where in that game. We came so close to getting something out of it. One lapse of concentration from us and one piece of magic from them lost us the game right near the end, so it wasn't as bad as you are trying to make out. It is done and gone now so forget it and concentrate on supporting the team for the game against le arse. We lost to the champions who have far better squad than we do and can call on subs that would grace most clubs first team every week, from your reactions anyone would think we lost to Bradford City not Man City, they can even afford to leave out balotelli FFS. Get real, we were winning that game for a nice bit and the draw was on until the lapse and the magic.
coys1717 Have you or any one else thought that the players are reacting the way they are because they have seen yet another manager lied to by the owners and levy and are now just sick of them all and that it may well not be anything to do with AVB. If I were in a team which was year after year having managers lied to and I could see it I would lose heart and lose all confidence in the owners and chairman. On top of that you seethe spine of the team that could have gone on to great things demolished in front of your eyes knowing that the players brought in, and I mean no disrespect to any of the replacements, are just not up to the same standard.

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