Bank Holidays, Europa League and shutting up the boo boys

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Andre Villas-Boas, Europa League, Tottenham Hotspur, FC Basel

Quite how much of a role the Bank Holiday played in suppressing the traditional moaning that usually seems to accompany every Spurs game this season, we can’t be too sure.

Although we like to think you also all feel nice and refreshed after enjoying a weekend that didn’t involve hearing the words ‘doomed’ ‘4-4-2’ or ‘that useless *insert profanity here* couldn’t hit Martin Jol’s forehead with a banjo’. Well, it’s probably pushing it to go three days without slaughtering Adebayor, but still, it’s progress.

Yet instead of waiting for the next gripe to rear it’s ugly head like Luke Chadwick popping up in a Whack-a-Mole, we’ve decided to preempt the inevitable worry that’s likely to appear when we play FC Basel on Thursday ahead of our match against Everton on the Sunday.

And just to lift the sagging frowns on the diminishing anti-Europa contingent amongst us, it’s worth noting that the predictable cries of potential fatigue, fixture congestion and unwarranted distraction are complete and utter garbage.

Of course, from a purely mathematical point of view, if the side are playing more games, the odds are our boys are all going to feel a little bit more knackered when they’re firing bottles of Belvedere at each other in Ibiza this summer. But for a bunch of players and supporters that ideally have their sights set on qualifying for the Champions League and actually winning something, this is par for the course.

Should we be so lucky to qualify for the Champions League this season and be even luckier to reach the quarter finals again, are we going to be hearing the same cries of fatigue and concern for our league position? Not a cat in hell’s chance, are we.

You can imagine it now: “We can’t play a full strength side against Barcelona this Wednesday can we!? What chance have we got qualifying for next year’s competition if we don’t beat Everton on Saturday?”

The irony of course, is a little too much to bear.

Yes, before the obvious is pointed out, a Europa League tie against FC Basel isn’t quite the same as taking on Lionel Messi and co. at the Camp Nou, but the last time we checked, football is about winning trophies and contrary to popular belief, we have a very good chance indeed of winning this one. Furthermore, as dress rehearsals go for the big dance, you won’t find one much better than what we have waiting for us on Thursday.

Playing two games a week during the business end of a season is what being a successful club is all about and if we can’t cope with it in the Europa League, why bother turning up for the Champions League? Bar the obvious disparity in quality, what’s really the difference between what we’ve been faced with this term and what we might have in store for next season? Playing on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday? Diddums.

If we’re really looking to push on as a club, this is the sort of fixture list we’re going to have to deal with and if we loose against Everton this weekend, the odds are it’s because we deserve to loose, as opposed to wheeling out the Europa League as a scapegoat.

Only five of the players that played the full 120 against Inter started the disastrous 1-0 home defeat to Fulham three days later and while there might have been a few tired legs out there, from where The Hotspur Way was sitting, we lost because we were utter pony as opposed to seeing a group of players out on their backsides.

So let’s put the moaning on ice, the gripes well and truly shelved and see if we can all enjoy another weekend tantrum free. Likely scenario? Of course not, this is Spurs.


Follow me on Twitter: @samuel_antrobus

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