- (Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh)
English club Tottenham Hotspurs travel to Greece to face a Panathinaikos side that is still searching for their first win of this year's Europa League.
In their first match in Group J, Spurs drew 0-0 with Italian club Lazio at White Hart Lane, as club manager Andre Villas-Boas fielded a very aggressive lineup. The Portuguese boss once again has his sights on lifting hardware this season, but can't understand why this tournament is considered a second-rate competition behind the Champions League.
"I respect the competition. I certainly think it is viewed as a punishment in England and I cannot understand why. It is a traditional trophy," Villas-Boas told reporters during a press conference. "You could build the most sensational team of all time out of Europa League winners."
Villas-Boas' career took off two years ago when he won the competition with FC Porto to end a wonderful season in which he won four trophies and replaced Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea. Although he left Chelsea on unsettled terms, the 34 year-old is still regarded as one of the top coaches in football.
To make his job more difficult, the Spurs will be without American international Brad Friedel, who did not travel to Greece. This development means that recently signed Hugo Lloris is primed to get his second start between the posts for the club.
Panathinaikos is currently in 12th place in Greece's 16-team league, managing to gain only four points from five matches. The club is looking forward to this match in order to gain a positive result and some confidence which has been shaken after losing in the opening match.
Panathinaikos come into the game wanting to forget being dominated all over the pitch by Slovenian club Maribor 3-0 last month.
Kick-off for the match is at 1:00 p.m. EDT and can be watched online here.