Spurs vs Tromso

It's Tromso at White Hart Lane tomorrow tonight in the Europa League group stages. The tournament while still being seen by the small minded as not worth bothering with, has grown in importance for Spurs under Andre Villas-Boas.

With the desire to build a winning mentality within the club every tournament is now important, winning is not just something you turn on and off at will. Former captain Steve Perryman is in no doubt about the tournaments importance.

“For me it is a ­fantastic competition. It always was. And it really does take some winning so I am immensely proud to be have been involved in three finals.

"That doesn't make it a second rate competition, far from it. It gave us some special nights at White Hart Lane, memorable ones and there is something different about European football at the Lane, the atmosphere is really vibrant.

“There was a school of thought when we was playing in it that it was more difficult to win in some ways than the European Cup. Invariably, you played teams that were improving, on the up if you like. You often found that the teams in the UEFA Cup were teams that were progressing and quite often finished that season as champions of their own league.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t quite manage to do that but the competition gave us some fantastic memories.

“If I had to recall one, it would be when we played AC Milan back in 1972. I scored two goals at White Hart Lane that helped get us through and that season we beat Wolves in the final.

“And we beat Feyenoord one night at home by 4-2 .... and they had Johan Cruyff in their line-up. Glenn Hoddle was magnificent that night.

“Ajax, Bayern Munich. All wonderful matches against top clubs.

“And I believe Tottenham can do really well this season. They put out a strong team against Dinamo Tblisi and still had a whole list of big names not even involved.

“They have put together a really strong squad and bought well in the summer. That means they can handle the fixtures and really make a big bid to win the trophy. It provides you with fantastic experiences.

“Yes, you play against some of the big names in European football. But you also travel to remote places and play opposition you have never heard of until the draw.

“But that is a test in itself because you are going into the unknown. You have no idea what you are facing and that is a test in itself. You have to learn to contend with the travel but you are better for that.

“Andre Villas-Boas will take it seriously, I am sure of that. And they have the talent in numbers to go all the way.”

We now have a squad who all naturally want to play so a degree of rotation will have to be used to ensure players aren't burnt out later in the season. Keeping everyone happy is not going to be easy

There are players returning from injury, new signings to be integrated and others just sitting on a bench desperate for a game. Thursday night football now offers us an opportunity to play a strong side, but not the first eleven.

Tromso are making changes to their team as they have an important relegation fixture at the weekend.

Hugo Lloris has been ill recently so a break for him wouldn't go amiss which gives a game to Friedel or Gomes. Kyle Naughton needs a game and Younis Kaboul who may well captain the side not only needs game time to get match fit but games to learn our high line system of play.

Who is likely to start alongside him depends upon Chiriches work permit which still hadn't been sorted by the weekend. If it still hasn't come through then Vertonghen may well play with Rose at left-back.

Sandro didn't start at the weekend so I'd expect to see him anchor the midfield with Holtby and Eriksen completing the trio. I'd give Paulinho a complete rest with games on Sunday and Tuesday coming up.

Upfront Defoe simply has to be given a game leaving only the wide areas. Chadli didn't play at the weekend because of an abductor injury and he is still out, as is Aaron Lennon. AVB has spoken about Lamela getting more game time over the coming games (3 in 6 days).

"It was finally good for us to have a few days training with the team and there is a possibility he could start against Tromso. He is selected for the game and a player of his quality will threaten to be in the team very soon.

"He has played in different positions up front from a young age. When he left River Plate, first he played behind the striker, then on the left, then as a right winger. The experience he has in three positions means he is creative in all three positions."

He needs game time to help integrate himself so I would play him on one wing with Townsend making up my XI.

Naughton Kaboul (c) Vertonghen Rose
Holtby Sandro Eriksen
Townsend Defoe Lamela

Subs: Gomes, Walker, Dawson, Sigurdsson, Dembele, Kane, Soldado

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