Villas-Boas confident of Spurs marching on
Andre Villas-Boas is confident Tottenham can secure the one point required to qualify for the knockout stages but admits Gareth Bale will be missed against Panathinaikos tonight.
Spurs lead the Greek side by two points in Group J, meaning a draw will be enough for them to advance as runners-up, although a victory could see them finish top if Lazio lose against Maribor.
Bale sustained a hamstring injury at Fulham last weekend and is expected to be out for two weeks. Villas-Boas will rest the goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and replace him with Brad Friedel, who has had to sit out the last five games despite being first choice at the start of the season.
“We’ve done excellently in this group phase. We have taken it very seriously,” the manager said. “We are very proud in how we approach the competition and we want to go through.”
On Bale’s absence he said: “Gareth will be missed. I have excellent players. For example, [Clint] Dempsey did well on the left after Gareth got injured.”
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 Olympiacos.
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,” said the former Chelsea boss.