Villas-Boas targets more trophies
Andre Villas-Boas admits he cannot dine out on his Europa League triumph with Porto forever as he looks to win the competition with Tottenham.
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Derided in many quarters for being a poor man's Champions League, the Europa League does not figure highly on the priority list of many top-flight managers.
But the competition remains one of the biggest prizes in football for Villas-Boas, who has vowed to put all his resources into bringing the trophy to White Hart Lane this season.
Two years ago Villas-Boas won the competition in Dublin to cap off a remarkable year that saw him collect four trophies and be headhunted for the Chelsea manager's job.
Things quickly went sour for the 34-year-old at Stamford Bridge, where he was sacked after nine months in charge.
Now, fresh from Sunday's morale-boosting win over Reading - his first in charge of Spurs - the Portuguese hopes to end his two-year drought by leading the Londoners to victory in the Europa League.
"It does seem a long time since I won it with Porto," Villas-Boas said. "A lot of things have happened since then. The memories are still present but at this time I can't live off the past.
"In our position we can't think too much about the past. In this life you constantly have to motivate yourself and put pressure on yourself to win more (trophies).
"This time it would be wonderful to win it again for Tottenham."
Villas-Boas could hardly have wished for a tougher opponent for Thursday night's Group J opener.
Lazio, blessed with the talents of Brazilian playmaker Hernanes and German striker Miroslav Klose, have won all three of their Serie A games so far and are one of the favourites to win the competition.
Given that the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Ajax dropped into the competition last season, Villas-Boas has a point when he says the Europa League is an extremely tough competition to win.
And he feels the winner could therefore be entitled to a bigger prize - such as direct qualification into the Champions League the following season.
"That idea was raised on the Elite Club Coaches Forum last year and it could certainly be the case," Villas-Boas said.
"It's an extremely important competition after the disappearance of the Cup Winners' Cup and it should be treated with respect.
"It's full of history and different winners. It does not generate financial advantages for the clubs in it but it generates emotions when you win it. It's about emotion and the fans and they would be extremely happy if that happens."
Villas-Boas has vowed to name a strong side for Thursday's game, but will make a few changes to the side that beat Reading 3-1 on Sunday.
Steven Caulker and Hugo Lloris could make their first starts while Clint Dempsey is also likely to feature at some point.
Lloris has endured something of a turbulent start to his career at White Hart Lane.
Villas-Boas publicly vowed to stick by Brad Friedel after his excellent performance against Reading, a move that disappointed Lloris and France head coach Didier Deschamps.
The Spurs boss held a clear-the-air meeting with his £8million signing last week and said: "The first two days after the international week (and before the Reading game) were more like recovery days for him.
"From then on he was training more with (goalkeeping coach) Tony Parks to get used to his methods, which is very, very important. And obviously he mixed in with what we were doing on the pitch.
"The only thing we can say is that his talent is immense and easily visible from the time he has trained with us."
Benoit Assou-Ekotto will see a specialist before the end of the week to determine if he needs a knee operation, while Scott Parker will be out for another two weeks despite previous hopes the England midfielder could return for Sunday's game against QPR.