After Sunday’s shocking performance and defeat to Manchester City, Andre Villas-Boas must select a team for the Europa League game in Norway against Tromso which will allow him to prepare the players for the next match against Manchester United.
Tottenham’s most important match is against Manchester United on Sunday. AVB’s thoughts must be on preparing his team for that game in the Premier League. While Spurs have their match in Norway against Tromso, it is of secondary importance. Tottenham’s season and his future as Tottenham manager could depend on the result against United at White Hart Lane next Sunday. Another defeat and another horrific performance could bring about his demise.
With such importance resting on next Sunday’s result, AVB has two choices. He should decide on his team for the United game and:
1. take the players to Norway where they will play the whole match to build confidence and understanding as a team or
2. keep those 14 players at home and send a team made up of players who won’t be playing on Sunday, squad players and younger players to Norway. With Steffen Freund in charge of that team it will allow AVB to concentrate fully on getting the team’s performance up to scratch for the United game.
Normally, I would advocate playing a strong team in all competitions but on this occasion, Spurs need to defeat United to restore some confidence and pride in the team. For that reason and having already defeated Tromso with ease at home I would opt to send a weakened team to Norway, in the knowledge that Spurs have already qualified for the Europa League knock-out stages. If they were to lose to Tromso, Spurs can still finish top of the group with a home win over Anzhi in the final group match.
My team for Tromso would be:
Friedel; Naughton, Dawson, Kaboul, Fryers; Chadli, Capoue, Holtby, Kane; Defoe, Adebayor
A number of those players would benefit from a full match against Tromso as they have played little football in recent weeks through not being selected or have been out with injury. The younger players in the Development and Under-21 squad could be promoted to the substitutes bench.
Whatever the result in Tromso, fans should remember that the United match is the one that counts.