TOTTENHAM forward Moussa Dembele believes that anything less than victory tonight against Lazio will undermine their Europa League ambitions and that his team-mates should be targeting European success.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas on Tuesday underlined his belief that Europe’s secondary competition is “very important” and having won it in 2011 with Porto, admits that he wants to do “something special” with Spurs which Dembele also considers to be possible.
“Lazio is a big team and I think Panathinaikos will be difficult too so that’s why we have to win this game so we can go [to Greece] with more confidence,” said Dembele.
“This is a very important competition for us. There are some good teams in this competition but I think we can do something in it.”
The first victory of Villas-Boas’s reign came away to Reading on Sunday when two goals from Jermain Defoe and another from Gareth Bale inspired a 3-1 victory. The manager spoke afterwards of an “anxiety” that had been lifted from the team and Dembele, who arrived in the summer from Fulham for £15m, also admits that the squad is consequently in a better place.
“That win was very important for us because it took the pressure off us,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy game. Reading are a good team.
“We have a better spirit in the team now, there is a lot of positive energy in the squad.”
Regardless of the result, Villas-Boas is expected to make changes to his side and could give a debut to troubled £14m goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, though striker Emmanuel Adebayor is unavailable because of a hamstring injury.
Spurs’ shirt sponsorship with Investec, meanwhile – for the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup – has been extended for an additional year.