Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has hit out at the Football League for putting his players’ “careers at risk” with their scheduling exacerbating the club’s hectic run of fixtures. Villas-Boas is furious that his side will have to play a League Cup tie against Aston Villa just two days after visiting Cardiff City in the Premier League. With Tottenham hosting Tromso in the Europa League on Thursday, it means they face a run of three games in six days. The fact that some Capital One Cup matches have been scheduled for Wednesday only adds to the Portuguese boss's frustration.
“After this game [against Tromso] we have not only the Sunday game but the Tuesday game, which I found as an incredible surprise," Villas-Boas told a press conference. “How can a game be scheduled immediately after two days? It's putting the players' careers at risk.
"I find it absolutely incredible that we have to risk injuries to our players in a game that they play on that Tuesday. The second day of recovery is the most dangerous day for a player to pick up an injury.”
Villas-Boas has again stressed his determination to do well in the Europa League, yet he will doubtless be particularly wary of the fixture pileup it can bring. Last season Tottenham fell out of the top four in the Premier League as they featured at the sharp end of the Europa League. The former winner of the competition with Porto has since made efforts to address that potential problem, having, largely with the proceeds from the sale of Gareth Bale, strengthened his squad considerably. Those additions are sure to be needed in the coming days.
One of the new arrivals, Nacer Chadli, remains on the sidelines, though, with an abductor muscle strain. Longer terms injury victims Etienne Capoue and Aaron Lennon will also again miss out.
Tottenham are expected to have little trouble making the top two in a group that also contains Moldovans Sheriff Tiraspol and an Anzhi Makhachkala side that has just removed many of their better players from their wage bill. And Spurs’ Group K campaign begins by hosting a Tromso side that are currently battling at the wrong end of the Norwegian Tippeligaen with just seven rounds of fixtures remaining. Agnar Christensen’s team did, though, beat league leaders Rosenborg 1-0 on Sunday.
D: Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose
M: Sandro, Paulinho
Lamela, Eriksen, Holtby
D: Fojut, Koppinen, Causevic, Ciss
M: Johansen, Drage, Andersen, Bendiksen
F: Moldskred, Ondrasek
Prediction: Tromso should pose little threat for Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The Norwegians lost the away leg of each of their three qualifying ties for the Europa League and, indeed, are only in the competition proper after Besiktas were disqualified from the competition. Tottenham now have enough quality to rotate, with the likes of Sandro and Lewis Holtby able to come in and the possibility of a debut for Argentinian Erik Lamela. Anything other than a comfortable win would be a major surprise.
Tottenham 3-0 Tromso