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UEFA Europa League Preview: Tottenham v Dnipro

25 February 2014 15:45

Juande Ramos returns to Tottenham with a point to prove on Thursday, but faces a big ask to oust his old club from the UEFA Europa League.

It was the Dnipro head coach who masterminded Tottenham's last trophy triumph as he won the League Cup in February 2008.

Eight months later, however, the Spaniard was sacked with the London club bottom of the Premier League and Ramos now heads back to his former stomping ground bidding to protect a 1-0 lead following the first leg of the last-16 tie between the two sides last week.

The odds appear to be stacked against Dnipro – fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League – reaching the quarter-finals given Tottenham's formidable home record in the competition.

Tottenham have suffered just one defeat in their last 18 Europa League ties at White Hart Lane, winning 12 of those matches, including the last four in a row this season.

Tim Sherwood, Ramos' counterpart, is also expected to name a much stronger starting XI than the one he deployed in Ukraine last Thursday, when the notable absentee was Emmanuel Adebayor, who has scored five goals in his last six games.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and winger Aaron Lennon sat out the game as well, but the trio all returned to Premier League action at the weekend to suggest they will be involved this time around.

In addition, Sherwood will expect his side to be more ruthless in attack as Roberto Soldado was guilty of a poor miss in the first leg before Yevhen Konoplyanka netted the only goal from the penalty spot.

"We will score at the Lane, guaranteed," stated a confident Sherwood when asked for his views on the return encounter.

Perhaps some of Sherwood's optimism stems from the fact that the playing conditions will suit Tottenham this time around.

A major talking point from the first leg was the state of the Dnipro Arena's pitch, which Sherwood labelled a "disgrace" after seeing the ball bobble badly on an uneven surface.

The two sets of players will experience no such problems on Thursday, although Tottenham could be short on confidence following Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Norwich City.

Midfielder Etienne Capoue sustained a leg injury during the loss at Carrow Road that makes him a doubt.

Dnipro, meanwhile, should feel fresh as Ramos' men had a free weekend due to the fact that the Ukrainian Premier League is still on its mid-season break.

Either PAOK or Benfica await the winners in the next round.

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Info

Competition
UEFA Europa League
Date
20 February 2014
Kick-off
19:00
Half-time
0 - 0
Full-time
1 - 0
On aggregate
2 - 3
Venue
Dnipro Arena (Dnipropetrovs'k)
Attendance
22356

Goals

Y. Konoplyanka (PG) 81'  
1 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
23
37
35
47
56
51
60

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