Despite missing Dembele, Bale and Adebayor, Spurs will be sending out a strong team tonight against Maribor as they look to get their Europa league campaign on track. Andre Villas-Boas believes the two matches with Maribor hold the key to the Europa league campaign.
Hugo Lloris will start in goal, his third Europa League appearance, and will be hoping to impress enough that he starts against Southampton at the weekend.
Michael Dawson will also be looking to force his way into Villas-Boas’ plans. The central defender has had limited playing time but should start this evening instead of William Gallas. Despite his lack of starts, Dawson has said he is not a man who will sulk about it, and that he is just hoping he can impress his manager when given the opportunity:
“We all want to play but that’s why you have to stay positive. When you’re called upon, you need your team-mates to want to back you and fight for you. Do I still feel I can force my way in? Of course.”
Although Maribor are relatively unheralded it should be a tight game in Slovenia tonight. Maribor are the runaway leaders of their domestic league, and have already been impressive in the Europa League, beating Panathanaikos 3-0 and losing narrowly 1-0 to Lazio. Spurs have only scored one goal in the tournament so far, and drawn both their first two matches. Sitting third in the group, a win is important to the North London side’s chances of progression.
Gylfi Sigurdsson has said how important it is for Spurs to bounce back from the weekend’s loss to Chelsea with a win in Slovenia. Speaking at yesterday’s press conference the Icelandic international said
"We know they are good at home so we're looking forward to the game. We want to bounce back after the game against Chelsea as well so three points will be very important to us.”
One man who is used to scoring against Slovenian opposition is Jermain Defoe, who has scored the winning goal for England twice against their national side.
In loan news, Ryan Fredericks has been recalled to Spurs from Brentford after five appearances for The Bees. The young midfielder made his debut for Spurs against Hearts last year.
Finally, there have been further rumours about Willian’s feted move to the Prermieship, with the Shakhtar player again re-iterating his desire to move to England to increase his chance of playing for the Brazil national side. Spurs and Chelsea have been repeatedly linked with the player.
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