Search

Dnipro v Spurs: Can Sherwood pick up where AVB left off in Europa League?

11:00 20 February 2014

Tim Sherwood has travelled to Ukraine without a number of first-team players

Tim Sherwood has travelled to Ukraine without a number of first-team players

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tottenham take on Juande Ramos’ Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the last 32 of the Europa League in Ukraine this evening.

Dnipro manager Juande RamosDnipro manager Juande Ramos

After the interminable group stage, this is usually the time when the Europa League becomes more interesting, when it is worth being involved and when the quality of the competition increases.

Last season’s knockout stage was certainly eventful for Tottenham, featuring Mousa Dembele’s last-minute winner in Lyon in the last 32, a 4-4 draw on aggregate and extra-time against Inter Milan in the last 16, and ultimately a penalty shoot-out against FC Basel in the quarter-finals.

Given that Spurs were preparing to face French giants Lyon this time last year, tonight’s clash against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk is somewhat underwhelming.

And, since Manchester City took on Barcelona on Tuesday and Arsenal faced Bayern Munich last night, Spurs’ trip to Ukraine is lacking a bit of stardust.

Liverpool tried to sign Dnipro and Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka in JanuaryLiverpool tried to sign Dnipro and Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka in January

Dnipro’s ropey pitch won’t help the show either. Tottenham were not allowed to train on the surface yesterday and Tim Sherwood said: “It’s not an ideal situation but sometimes these are things that you have to come up against.

“I just don’t know how bad it is but we won’t be using the pitch as an excuse if we don’t get the result we want.”

The good news is that the Lilywhites have every chance of progressing, and Dnipro boss Juande Ramos has admitted: “Spurs are superior. They’re clear favourites and there’s a very good chance of us getting knocked out.”

He is no doubt aware that Tottenham boast a perfect record in Europe this season, having won all eight of their Europa League games so far.

The Lilywhites were also the joint highest scorers in the group stage with 15 goals, and they had the joint best defensive record, only conceding twice.

Andre Villas-Boas must take the credit for that but, given that Sherwood has lost both of his cup games so far, against West Ham and Arsenal, he will be keen to continue his predecessor’s good work on the continent.

Of course, this is the only cup that Tottenham can realistically win this season, and the trophy cabinet has been bare since Ramos lifted the League Cup in 2008.

Given that Spurs could have been drawn against Lazio, Ajax, Juventus or FC Porto, there is a lot to be said for an easier draw – even if the build-up and the spectacle is less exciting.

After all, Spurs’ epic clash with Inter Milan last season played a big role in their failure to finish in the top four, as they lost both of the ensuing league games, away at Liverpool and, more damagingly, at home against Fulham.

That costly reverse against the Cottagers was largely because Villas-Boas started with a number of the players who had endured 120 minutes just three days previously, and Sherwood will need to make better use of his squad.

He has already left key players at home – Hugo Lloris, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kyle Walker, Aaron Lennon, Mousa Dembele and Younes Kaboul – while calling up a handful of young players from the development squad.

Again, the fact that Spurs are facing Dnipro rather than one of the sides who have dropped down from the Champions League aids Sherwood’s cause – a weakened side is more likely to get the job done.

The Lilywhites are also taking on a team who have not played since mid-December due to their winter break, which makes them well-rested but probably rusty – and Dnipro have never advanced beyond the last 32 of the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

Yet it would be foolish to write the hosts off. The last time Spurs travelled to Ukraine they lost 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2008 – albeit with a weakened team under Harry Redknapp, who was fighting relegation at the time – and the man who hit the opening goal that night, Yevhen Seleznyov, is now in the Dnipro ranks.

There are few familiar faces in Ramos’ squad, but Liverpool tried to sign Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka for £12million in the January transfer window.

Striker Nikola Kalinic joined Dnipro from Blackburn Rovers – and Vlad Chiriches played with his fellow Romanian defender Alexandru Vlad at both FC International Curtea de Arges and FC Pandurii Targu Jiu back in his homeland.

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 15:15
Brondesbury spinner Anthony Wilkinson took four wickets. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Brondesbury extended their winning run to five games in all competitions after another successful weekend.

Yesterday, 12:00
South Hampstead captain Leroy Shepherd (left) congratulates Touqeer Ahmad after his fourth wicket. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Touqeer Ahmad bowled a five-for and then hit an unbeaten 36 off 15 balls as South Hampstead triumphed for the second week in a row in a rain-affected Division Three match.

Mon, 15:06
North Middlesex captain Tom Nicoll (left) has praised Rob Fahrenheim (right), who hit 96 against Teddington on Saturday. Pic: Max Flego

New signing Rob Fahrenheim led a much-improved batting display from North Middlesex – but the Crouch End outfit suffered their second successive defeat in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Mon, 07:10
Middlesex's James Franklin bowling.

Middlesex all-rounder James Franklin fears the new County Championship toss rule is stifling the competition and generating “attritional cricket”.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Dominique Janssen went close with a last minute free-kick in Arsenal Ladies' 0-0 draw with Birmingham. Pic: Sylvester George

Dominique Janssen hopes Arsenal Ladies’ Wembley triumph will give them the self-belief to challenge Chelsea for the Women’s Super League title.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Middlesex's Ollie Rayner (right) celebrates a wicket with team-mate John Simpson

Middlesex’s bowlers will make former skipper Chris Rogers their top target when he returns to Lord’s with Somerset this weekend, according to Ollie Rayner.

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (centre) celebrates putting his side ahead against Aston Villa

How do you define a good season? Or more importantly a poor season?

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Great Britain's Jo Pavey won the 2014 European Championships and will be aiming to qualify for her fifth Olympics when she competes in Highgate Harriers' Night of the 10,000m PBs at Parliament Hill on Saturday

Olympic dreams will be realised and dashed on the Parliament Hill athletics track on Saturday night as Britain’s top 10,000m runners battle it out for seats on the plane to Rio.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe