Spurs defender weighs up pros and cons of Europa League qualification
09:00 20 March 2014
Danny Rose says the Europa League is a worthwhile competition, and that it will be even more valuable next season when the winners are awarded a Champions League spot.
But he admits the team who finishes seventh in the Premier League this season and misses out on Europe will have a much better chance of finishing in the top four next campaign.
Spurs’ defeat against Arsenal on Sunday effectively left them in a battle for the fifth and sixth spots which will secure a place in next season’s Europa League.
The question is whether that is a fight worth winning, or whether it is a poisoned chalice, and Rose has mixed feelings.
“You only have to look at Liverpool,” said the left-back. “Playing one game a week, you have to say it’s a lot better than playing two or three games in a week. If you look at how many injuries they’ve had as well, it wouldn’t be that many compared to how many we’ve had.
“But I still feel that the Europa League is a great competition, and once the Champions League teams drop in you’ve got a chance of playing some great teams.
“If any team or manager’s a bit apprehensive about playing in the Europa League next season, once you win it you go into the Champions League so it gives anyone an incentive to do well in the competition. I think that’s definitely a lot better.
“It has its pros and cons, but playing once a week, I can only see that benefiting any team.”
Rose added: “Our record after the Europa League is not good and it has to change, especially when we play away from home – coming back and playing on the Sunday, it’s not the best.
Tottenham are still involved in this season’s Europa League – but only just as they prepare for the second leg of their last-16 clash against Benfica this evening.
The Portuguese league leaders triumphed 3-1 at White Hart Lane last week, so Spurs will need to score three away goals in Lisbon this evening – and they will have to win without any recognised centre-backs.
Jan Vertonghen is suspended while Michael Dawson, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul are all injured.
However, Rose said: “I think there is a chance. You look at Arsenal last week, I’d say they held Bayern Munich for large parts of the game, and we’ve outplayed them at the weekend.
“But Benfica are no mugs. I heard they made five changes against us last week and still outplayed us.
“We’re going to have to go there and try our best and hopefully we won’t let the travelling fans down.
“If I’m being honest we outplayed Arsenal and I think everyone should look at their individual performances and the team performance and take some credit and push it on into today’s game.
“Hopefully we can get a result out there and, you never know, try to go through to the next round.
“It’s going to be hard. But Tim’s the kind of guy who will not let anyone’s standards slip, no matter the scoreline or who we’re playing. I know the chances are slim but we’ll try to go through to the next round.”
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