Parker urges Spurs to push on
Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker believes Thursday night's Europa League quarter-final first leg against Basle signifies the start of the business end of the club's season.
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28. Scott Parker
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has taken Europe's second-tier competition seriously since his appointment at White Hart Lane last summer and a victory in north London on Thursday night would go a long way to securing a semi-final berth.
Champions League qualification would have been the remit for the Portuguese when he replaced Harry Redknapp and the ex-Chelsea manager has so far managed to juggle successfully between domestic and European fixtures, with Spurs currently third in the Barclays Premier League.
England international Parker, who is back in the Spurs side after missing a large chunk of the campaign with an Achilles problem, feels the hard work earlier in the season has been leading to this point.
"You hear it all the time - this is the business end of the season," he said.
"This is where it defines you. We have worked hard to get to this stage and are in the quarter-finals and are sitting healthy in the league.
"I suppose this is the most important point now. You need to maintain and keep picking up results and finish and maintain your objectives and get there at the end of the season."
Spurs have not won a trophy since their League Cup success in 2008 and Parker, who only has an Intertoto Cup victory to his name to date, reckons lifting the Europa League would be a huge milestone for everyone involved with the club.
"It would be massive for me personally and I think it would be massive for a lot of us in the changing room and for the club as well," he said. "As well as us as a squad, when I say that I obviously mean the fans as well. I can't remember the last time we won a trophy.
"For the fans, it would be something very special - it would be something that shows the club is moving in the right direction and would be pleasing.
"We have gone on a very good run and it is a tough competition with good teams in it. We wouldn't want to look too far ahead because obviously we have got two difficult games coming up, but you're at the business end now so there is a chance you can go all the way."
Spurs will be without striker Jermain Defoe for Thursday night's first leg and probably next Thursday's return encounter in Switzerland too. The 30-year-old is likely to missing for up to 10 days with a leg injury.