Tottenham Hotspur secured their place in the Europa League last night after being knocked out of the Champions League despite winning.
Spurs needed just one point against Russian side, CSKA Moscow to claim a place in what is seen as the Champions League’s little brother, the Europa League.
Things didn’t start well for Mauricio Pochettino’s side as they went behind in the 33rd minute when Alan Dzagoev scored from Zoran Tosic’s assist.
It looked all too familiar for Spurs at Wembley but Dele Alli changed that when he levelled the score with an impressive half-volley five minutes after CSKA’s initial strike.
Fan’s favourite, Harry Kane made Pochettino’s half time team talk a lot easier when he put Spurs in front just before the break.
Spurs went onto add to their lead through the help of CSKA Moscow’s goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev when he guided Alli’s header into his own goal in the 77th minute.
One question Spurs fans were asking before the game was: “Do we really need the Europa League or should we concentrate on the league?”
This was the first time Tottenham Hotspur had entered the Champions League since their impressive 2010/11 season when they reached the Quarter-Finals, being knocked out by European giants, Real Madrid.
The North London side finished as one of the four best third-placed teams in the Champions League. This means that they will be seeded for the Europa Leagues last 32 draw on Monday.
The Europa League is a competition Spurs fans have become used to and this will be their sixth consecutive season in it.
Spurs boss, Pochettino spoke about the Europa League in a press conference saying: “The Europa League is a good competition to go far. We believe we can win that competition and in the Premier League we can go far, near the top.”
Although many fans are against playing in the Europa League, a number of high profile individuals in the game have spoke about tipping Spurs to success in Europe.
After all, winning the Europa League allows for qualification into the following year’s Champions League. That’s surely a positive?
One individual to have publicly spoken out about Spurs’ qualification is Steve McManaman who won the UEFA Champions League twice with Real Madrid.
McManaman said: “If they [Spurs] want to go the whole way, if they want to take it very seriously then certainly that Tottenham side we’ve just seen why can’t they get to the final?”
Roy Keane also spoke about Spurs in Europe saying: :’Realistically they were not going to win the Champions League so the big reward is if you win the Europa League then you get Champions League football. And that’s probably one of the best ways for them to get back into the competition next season.”
Another point which should be made is that Spurs can also use the Europa League to expose their youngsters to first team football.
Harry Winks and Josh Onomah will be two key youngsters to be involved.
Marcus Edwards, a player who came on as a substitute against Gillingham in Spurs’ EFL Cup tie is another player Tottenham fans should look out for if Pochettino is to opt for youth over experience.
Tottenham fan and Valencia B defender, Charlie Dean I’Anson spoke to ElWriteBack about Spurs in Europe.
The former Elche man said: “Yeah they have found it tough playing at Wembley like Arsenal did. We would have qualified if the games were at White Hart Lane of course.”
I’Anson went on to say: “The Europa league, if you win it you automatically qualify for the Champions League so that would be great!”
What are your opinions? Should Spurs take this competition seriously or is the league more important?