BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JULY 30: Roman Pavlyuchenko of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur at Amex Stadium on July 30, 2011 in Brighton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Whether you wanted it or not, we find ourselves at the start of this season wading into the mire of the "killer" Europa League. One coping mechanism for our failure to reach fourth last time out displayed by some of us has been to stay positive and view it as a decent opportunity to blood in the more promising youngsters. This is certainly true and if Harry Kane and more contentiously Jake Livermore don't feature prominently and live up to the potential both are showing then I personally will eat my hat after filling it with tears of frustration.
Is it right to view the tournament as nothing more than providing next-level stomping ground for our reserve team, however? I personally say no. Personally, in fact, I want to see us have a proper go at winning the thing.My reasons are simple: Effectively, I don't want to watch 11 men wearing the same badge sported by Gareth Bale as he tore Maicon apart last season crashing out of the League at the hands of a team with a name primarily composed of Zs and Ys. Nothing would be more dispiriting for me than watching a Spurs squad who have been fostering a reputation for entertaining football we've been fostering in recent seasons not try, even if it is towards an ultimately ‘meaningless' end.
Last season was all about energy and excitement and rather than allowing apathy to creep in (for a point of reference see Liverpool last season when European stagnation paralleled a wider lack of ideas and dynamism), I want to see that same attitude brought to everything we do this time out too. Right now we are standing on the precipice of running out of steam, and I truly believe that every step we can take to counter that and keep us progressing should be rolled out.
Indeed, in playing a strong B team comprised for the most part by youngsters as previously suggested, I don't see why we can't balance that against success in the Premiership. Obviously NOTHING should come in the way of attempting to excel nationally and securing our rightful fourth spot again. That said, we are meant to be the reinvigorated, dynamic Tottenham Hotspur- why give anyone a reason to think anything otherwise? Why not just have a good crack at it and have something to hold our heads up high about come next May?
I'm not presenting these ideas as cast-iron reasons for cheering us on in Europe- I'm not even sure if I'm fully convinced by them. But I am trying to play devil's advocate and I fully encourage anyone to challenge or call me up on them and help me come to terms with exactly how I should feel about our upcoming European experience. Until then, I'm keeping my chin and my expectations up for everything we do this season.