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Tottenham's Clint Dempsey beats Panathinaikos' Victor Vitolo (left) . Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Clint: ‘You don’t want to pick your poison’ over Europa draw

Friday, December 7, 2012
8.25 AM

Clint Dempsey says he isn’t concerned about who Tottenham are drawn against after securing qualification through to the knockout round of the Europa League.

The American scored the crucial second goal that ended a fightback by Panathinaikos last night, after the Greek side had cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor’s first half opener, which he too hand a hand in.

The Premier League side went on to win 3-1 to secure a spot in the last 32 where Premier League rivals Liverpool, Newcastle and Chelsea also await.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas insists current European champions the Blues - his former club - don’t deserve to be in the competition as they were knocked out of the Champions League, but Dempsey, who reached the final of the competition while at Fulham, won’t be worrying about who Spurs are pitted against.

“It [the knockout rounds] will be a step up but you also need a little bit of luck on your side as well – we’ll see what happens,” he said.

“You don’t want to pick your poison. Whoever we play, we play and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

Spurs managed to qualify for the last 32 by going unbeaten in Group J, though they were the draw specialists, ending four of their ties all square but securing the point they needed against Panathinaikos to finish second behind Italian side Lazio.

Dempsey said: “We started slow but we were still unlucky in some of those games in conceding late goals, like away in Greece and not having a goal at home against Lazio. There were two or three that were disallowed, maybe one should have stood.

“We started slow but we picked up momentum when we needed to and the positive is that we’re in the next round.”

Dempsey added: “We want to do well in everything we’re a part of and we are able to move onto the next round.

“The good thing is that we’ve got a little bit of a rest from this competition and can focus on the [Premier] league and making sure we go as high as possible.”