Spurs would be gutted to exit Europa League and can cope with the schedule, insists Bentaleb
22:30 23 February 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Nabil Bentaleb insists Tottenham will be “gutted” if they are knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday, but he admits the players will need to up their game after Sunday’s poor performance against West Ham.
Mauricio Pochettino rested key players such as Harry Kane for last Thursday’s continental clash against Fiorentina, seemingly prioritising the bid to finish in the top four in the Premier League - and they failed to win either game.
Spurs were held to a 1-1 draw in the home leg of their European tie, giving them an uphill task in Italy this week, and they performed poorly against the Hammers on Sunday, going 2-0 down before staging a late comeback and grabbing a 2-2 draw at the death.
Once again, Tottenham are facing questions about whether the Europa League is undermining their league campaign, and whether it would really be a disaster if they exit the tournament in the last-32 stage this week.
But Bentaleb said: “This is not the way we think, we’d be gutted if we go out of the Europa League. We’re going to go to Fiorentina on Thursday to win that game. If we start thinking like this we’re not going anywhere. We have to keep that hunger we have inside us to want to win everything.
“We have big chances in both competitions. We have a large squad, we have the qualities to play well in this competition and I think we want to prove that.
“It’s not like everything’s back in doubt because we drew against West Ham. We know what we can do, we know what we want to do before the end of the season and we will keep working to get our targets.”
Bentaleb added: “We have to step up our game but that’s not a problem. We will give 100 per cent of what we have.
“You could see on Sunday we gave everything we had and we managed to get the point. Sometimes you have those days, everything is against you, but it’s in those moments you see the big teams that stand up and manage to get a good result.”