Pavlyuchenko wants Europa win

Spurs enjoyed a remarkable debut season in the Champions League

this season, beating both Milan giants before losing to Real Madrid

in the quarter-finals. But the European run took its toll on the

club in the Premier League, where their poor form in the last

quarter of the season saw them finish outside the top four.

Pavlyuchenko, whose double against Birmingham on Sunday secured

fifth place, is confident about Spurs’ chances of winning the

Europa League and insists they should not be too disappointed to be

in it. “Our club is quite able to win the Europa League next year,”

Pavlyuchenko told Sport Express. “We have a very good team, and we

could still have reinforcements. “As for the fifth place, we took a

step back compared to last year, without getting into the Champions

League, but it’s still better than sixth. “We lost too many points

in the end but the whole season should not be called a failure. “We

should not forget that we played in Europe’s premier club

tournament, and reached the quarter-finals.” Tottenham manager

Harry Redknapp has never hidden his dislike of the Europa League,

constantly referring to it as a second-rate competition where teams

are more likely to play their reserves. Jermain Defoe has also

labelled the tournament a “distraction”, but Michael Dawson thinks

the squad should give embrace the opportunity to add some European

silverware to the White Hart Lane trophy cabinet. “We wanted to be

in the Champions League but it hasn’t happened and when the Europa

League starts we will be going out there to win it,” Dawson said.

“It’s another competition for the fans. The ground, whether it’s

the Champions League or the Europa League, will be sold out every

week.” Had Tottenham not beaten Birmingham last week they could

have faced the prospect of qualifying for the Europa League via the

fair play league. That would have involved going through three

rounds of playoffs – the first of which takes place on June 30.

Dawson was keen to avoid such an early return to action. “That was

the last thing that any player or member of staff wanted,” the

defender said. “We knew we had to finish fifth so it’s a massive

relief to have done it.” Redknapp says achieving fourth place in

the Premier League next year will be the club’s priority and admits

a number of Spurs’ youngsters will be involved in the European

campaign. “Maybe it will give us a chance to play some of the

younger players. The Premier League will be all-important to us

next year,” Redknapp said. One young player Redknapp has been

impressed with this year is Danny Rose. The 20-year-old, who

started his Tottenham career as a winger, spent the first half of

the season on loan at Bristol City before capitalising on Benoit

Assou-Ekotto’s hamstring injury to become the first-choice

left-back for the last four games of the campaign. “Benoit’s a

top-class player but Danny has done well,” Redknapp said. “I have

always said to him that he could be a top, top left-back. That’s

where he plays best. He has got a low centre of gravity, he’s

quick, he’s aggressive and has a great left foot. “He is a real

left-back in my opinion and there will be a big competition between

him and Benoit for that position next year.”