Andre Villas-Boas has shown a positive attitude to Tottenham’s participation in this season’s Europa League competition and will be hoping for a result against Panathinaikos which will see Spurs progress to the knock-out stages which start in February. It’s not surprising that Villas-Boas has a soft spot for the competition as, after all, it was winning the Europa League which helped to establish him as a young manager with prospects. Winning the trophy with Porto along with the League and Cup in Portugal, encouraged Roman Abrahamovic to pay massive compensation to take him to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2011. While things didn’t go to plan there, Villas-Boas is making the most of his second chance with Spurs and sees the Europa League as a competition he would like Tottenham to win come next May.
In September, ahead of the opening match against Lazio, Villas-Boas showed how his thoughts on the Europa League differed from his predecessor, Harry Redknapp who regularly fielded weakened teams in the competition. Villas-Boas said,
“”We want to do something special in this competition. This competition is very important.”
Recent comments by UEFA President, Michel Platini, where he aired the view that the Europa League could be scrapped with the focus being on an enlarged Champions League have not found favour with Villas-Boas. Speaking at his press conference yesterday, ahead of tonight’s match against Panathinaikos, quoted in the Daily Mail, Villas-Boas said,
“It would be disappointing if UEFA pressed ahead with plans to scrap the Europa League in favour of an expanded Champions League.”
The Tottenham Head Coach laments the loss of the European Cup Winners’ Cup which led to an increased UEFA Cup competition and eventually brought about the Europa League which apes the format of the more favoured Champions League. He makes a very obvious point that to further expand the Champions League would require a change in the name of the competition.
“Increasing the Champions League, you have to remove the name champions out of it because it doesn’t make any sense.”
He doesn’t know how other people would feel about the changes that Platini raised as UEFA look to the future development of their competitions, but for him, Villas-Boas would be disappointed to see the demise of the Europa League.