It wouldn’t be Tottenham if we weren’t made to sit through a brief period of agony but last night’s win over Panathinaikos was comfortable enough in the end. Spurs looked to be cruising after Emmanuel Adebayor’s first half strike but the visitors pulled a goal from nowhere shortly after Jermain Defoe had hit the post.
A nervous few minutes ensued until a Clint Dempsey header / keeper own goal restored the lead before JD finished it before the end.
12 Months ago we limped out of this competition and while 2011-12’s Europa League helped with the development of players such as Andros Townsend, Harry Kane and Tom Carroll, elimination was all we deserved.
This year however, Andre Villas-Boas is delighted with our progression.
“It was great for the lads to go through after the way we’ve embraced this competition,” AVB said.
“The ultimate objective was to reach first place, but Lazio did well. We’re happy to go through.”
“We had a good first half, had control of possession, created opportunities and then had a chance for 2-0 that hit the post,” Andre added.
“When they equalised it brought a bit more emotion into the game.
“They had a big chance at 1-1, but it would’ve been unfair if we had lost. It was a good solid performance.”
There are some excellent teams left in the competition but Spurs are joint third favourites at 14/1 to lift the trophy next year. Some remain sceptical about the Europa League but a trophy’s a trophy and as Russell Osman said in Escape to Victory – ‘Hold on lads, we can win this!’