After seemingly turning a corner in the Premier League, Andre Villas-Boas has hit another stumbling block but this time in the form of the Europa League. After the club were hit by a surprise draw with Panathinaikos, AVB moved to defend his players and insisted that complacency wasn’t the issue and plenty of praise has to be lavished on their opponents.
Tottenham looked to be in complete control of proceedings on Thursday evening and deservedly went ahead in the first half courtesy of a Michael Dawson header. From then on, the team huffed and puffed and could have added to the lead on numerous occasions, only to see Panathinaikos grab a late equaliser to completely deflate everyone at White Hart Lane.
Despite the disappointment, Villas-Boas was eager to take the positives out of the evening. Speaking to the media he said, “I don’t think we were complacent. We have to give credit to Panathinaikos, they pressed much more and started to gain belief from that and that led to the goal. I think the whole team felt a bit disappointed because the first half was so positive and we were in control of situation. I understand the disappointment at not putting the game to bed, but in the end we congratulated the players because if it had been other way round, the whole perspective would have been different.”
No matter how the performance was deemed, there’s no doubt that the team need to oversee rapid improvement in Europe or risk being dumped out of the competition at the earliest opportunity. Spurs have started the Europa League campaign with two draws and with these results leaving them in 3rd place in the Group J table, it’s clear to see that the club need to make significant progress in the future weeks to guarantee prolonged existence in the tournament.