Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli: Europa League is very important for us
Tottenham forward Nacer Chadli is taking Europa League seriously this season
Nacer Chadli has underlined the increased importance of the Europa League for Tottenham Hotspur this season as a pathway into Europe’s premier club competition.
Spurs can seal a return to the Champions League if Mauricio Pochettino’s men win their first Europa League title, although the north London side face a tough last-32 tie against Fiorentina.
I’ve played a lot of Europa League and I’ve never had to play against such a good team at this stage of the competition
Tottenham are in the mix for a top-four finish in the Premier League, although the sixth-placed side face a tough battle with rivals Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Southampton for a Champions League spot.
Speaking to the media ahead of Thursday’s first leg at White Hart Lane, Chadli said: “The Europa League is much more important.
“The winner goes straight into the Champions League and everybody wants to go into the Champions League so this competition is very serious. We know it’s not going to be easy but we know our quality.”
Chadli has been one of Tottenham’s standout performers this season, scoring seven goals and making five assists in 20 Premier League appearances this season.
The Belgium international has previous Europa League experience with former club, FC Twente, and Chadli admitted that he is surprised Spurs have to face such strong opponents five hurdles out from the final.
“We could have had a better draw than this because I’ve played a lot of Europa League and I’ve never had to play against such a good team at this stage of the competition, but that’s the draw and we have to play the games.
“I think Fiorentina are a strong side who can play good football, they’re one of the best in Italy and they have quality players up front and in defence.
“They’re very organised and we have to play with a lot of tempo and to be strong at home to beat them because, if not, it’s going to be difficult to go there and get something.”