Tottenham’s Andre Villas-Boas eyes ‘big opportunity’ at Sheriff
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas says Spurs have a big opportunity to move on to nine points at Sheriff Tiraspol
Andre Villas-Boas has urged Tottenham Hotspur to seize their “big opportunity” to take a big step towards the Europa League knock-out stage at Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday night.
The north London side are in pole position in Group K after beating Anzhi Makhachkala and Tromso in their opening two group-stage matches of their European campaign.
With Spurs looking to challenge for the Premier League title – and at the very least a top-four finish this season, Villas-Boas wants his squad to seal their progress as soon as possible.
“We have a big opportunity to get to nine points and maybe qualify at such an early stage,” Villas-Boas told Tottenham’s website.
“That motivation is key for us and is a big opportunity.”
Villas-Boas warned Spurs that Sheriff – who have the Moldovan title 11 times in 13 years – will provide a threat through their six Brazilians.
He added: “The conditions here are great.
“They are influenced by the Brazilians they have: Six Brazilians, very creative players and particularly in midfield.
“They are a counter attacking team which break quickly so we have to be aware.
“But we also must keep to our own principles and stay solid in defence.”
Sheriff Tiraspol v Tottenham Hotspur: Fact-file
• Sheriff competed in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 Uefa Europa League group stages, failing to advance on both occasions having collected five points each time. In both of their previous campaigns, their group stage home record was W1 D1 L1.
• Sheriff drew 1-1 at Tromsø IL on matchday two and are one of only three sides to have tied both of their opening group stage fixtures, along with Real Betis Balompie and Olympique Lyonnais.
• This is Tottenham’s sixth Uefa Cup/Uefa Europa League group stage campaign, and they also competed in the 2010/11 Uefa Champions League group stage, meaning that they have competed in one group stage or another for seven of the last eight seasons; their only absence was in 2009/10. They have only once missed out on the knockout phase in those campaigns, in 2011/12.
• Spurs maintained their impressive start to the season with a 2-0 win at FC Anji Makhachkala on matchday two; they have won all four of their games in this season’s competition, scoring 13 goals and conceding none.