Tottenham Hotspur v LASK – UEFA Europa League Group J – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – Thursday 8pm – Preview
Jose Mourinho faces Austrian outfit, LASK, for the first time in his career and is fully aware that his Tottenham Hotspur side will face a stiff challenge as they look to get their UEFA Europa League Group J campaign off to a flying start.
The visitors have made a steady start to their domestic campaign and notably hammered Sporting Lisbon by four goals to one to reach the group stages of this season’s European tournament.
“Difficult team – I played against Austrian teams before but LASK the first time,” Mourinho confessed.
“From my analysis, my point my view, they can be a very difficult opponent. In both matches to qualify for the group phase, they were playing for a long time against ten men and that makes a difference of course.
“But before – when it was eleven against eleven – they were always very dominant. They are a team that wants to dominate, to always press in the opposition half. They’re a very difficult team and I like to play against difficult teams.”
Mourinho will undoubtedly target the Europa League and when quizzed as to whether his side an win the competition, the Portuguese chief added: “We’re going to try. It’s the third time I played the competition and the other two times, one with Porto and one with United, we managed to win it. So the record in the Europa League is great, never knocked out. Of course, lost a few matches in the group phase but managed always to win it.
It is difficult, it is a very long competition, the group phase is tricky then you go to the knockouts and you get teams coming from the Champions League which is very unfair.
“If you play Champions League and you don’t qualify you go home. In the Europa League group phase, if you finish third you go home, you don’t have another competition to play.
“It is what it is. A very long competition and difficult. But at this moment let’s focus on the points we need – ten, eleven points you need to qualify through the group stage.”
Jeevesie’s prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 LASK