Tottenham’s Europa League challenge at critical point, insists Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas believes Tottenham Hotspur’s next two Europa League matches will be pivotal for his side’s chances of progressing through the group stages, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Tottenham travel to Slovenia to meet Maribor on Thursday evening and then welcome the same opposition to White Hart Lane in the next round of fixtures in two weeks’ time, with Spurs currently third in the group – a point behind Maribor.

A draw in Slovenia keeps Tottenham within touching distance of their hosts this week and provides an opportunity for Spurs to leapfrog Maribor by beating them at home when the programme resumes in early November. The top two teams in the group qualify for the next round, with Lazio currently in first place.

Villas-Boas insists that a draw with Maribor on Thursday should be regarded as an encouraging outcome. The Head Coach said: “The two games with Maribor are going to be decisive. A point will not be a bad result.

Tottenham go into the first meeting with Maribor missing Gareth Bale, who has stayed home after the birth of his child, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Brad Friedel will also miss the fixture.

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