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Scrapping Europa League would be ‘unpopular’ insists AVB

Andre Villas-Boas (back row second from right) celebrates with his Porto side that won the UEFA Europa League in 2011. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Andre Villas-Boas (back row second from right) celebrates with his Porto side that won the UEFA Europa League in 2011. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
5:07 PM

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas thinks that UEFA proposals to scrap the Europa League and replace it with an enlarged Champions League would be a crazy idea.

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Having won the competition with Porto in 2010, the Portuguese is determined to make sure Spurs progress by avoiding defeat against Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane tomorrow.

“It’s difficult for me [to accept],” Villas-Boas said when asked about the potential change, adding: “We lost the Cup Winners’ Cup and you miss it.

“Most clubs are in a difficult financial situation. Increasing the Champions League means you have to remove the name ‘Champions’ out of it as it would not make any sense.

“I think it would be an unpopular decision, certainly for me it would be a disappointment.”

Spurs will be confident of overcoming Panathinaikos tomorrow.

The Greek side snatched a lucky draw in the reverse fixture two months ago and their current poor form means they sit 16 points adrift of domestic league leaders Olympiakos, who beat Arsenal in the Champions League last night.

Villas-Boas intends to rotate his team for the final Group J clash, with number one Hugo Lloris expected to make way for Brad Friedel, who has had to sit out the last five games despite being first choice at the start of the season.

The game has come too soon for long-term injury victims Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but they could return for next weekend’s game against Swansea.

“They have both been out for some time but we have to be sensible with the situation,” the former Chelsea boss added. “Parker is an amazing player and it is a big boost for us.”

Gareth Bale, who suffered a hamstring injury at Fulham, is out of Sunday’s game at Everton but should return for the match against the Swans.

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