• Europa League

No Tottenham rotation insists Villas-Boas

ESPN staff
March 14, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas feels Tottenham can go all the way in the Europa League if they overcome Inter Milan © PA Photos

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Tottenham manger Andre Villas-Boas has scorned the notion he is set to make a number of changes for his side's Europa League second leg duel against Inter Milan.

Tottenham take a healthy lead to the San Siro after disposing of the Italian giants 3-0 at White Hart Lane in the clubs' first encounter.

But despite seemingly having one foot in the quarter-finals of the competition, and still in the middle of a battle for a Champions League spot in the Premier League, Villas-Boas has flatly refused to rest a number of stars for the Inter clash.

"No chance," the Tottenham manager said when asked if he was considering fielding a weakened team. "There is no scoreline that could make us change six or seven players so we will play a strong team to make sure we go through in this competition.

"We take this game very seriously."

However, one change the Portuguese coach will be forced to make is the replacement of Welsh wizard Gareth Bale.

Tottenham's leading goal scorer picked up his third booking of the competition in the first leg and will serve a one-match suspension, missing the chance to return to the arena where he scored a sensational Champions League hat-trick in 2010.

But a confident Villas-Boas said Tottenham were more than prepared to fill the breach left by the 23-year-old. "We've been in situation where he is not with us and we got results," Villas-Boas said.

"Gareth can make a difference in any game, we know. We will miss him but we won't want to prove anything without him because we believe a lot in ourselves and also we believe in Gareth. It's not a case of proving anything. We just want to do our job to get through."

And Villas-Boas believes should Tottenham put an end to Inter's European hopes, his squad will have the confidence and experience to consider themselves worthy of a berth in the final.

"We had very difficult draws for the last-32 and last-16 in Lyon and Inter Milan. They are two teams used to playing Champions League football and who are full of European experience," Villas-Boas said.

"It's been a brilliant experience so far and it shows the route we've chosen to take, by playing it seriously, has paid off in terms of these fixtures, which has been amazing. Hopefully if we can manage to overcome Inter we can put ourselves in a strong position [to win it], although we admit there are still some very strong teams in the mix."

Villas-Boas is expected to turn to goalkeeper Brad Friedel for the Inter game, selecting the American veteran over Frenchman Hugo Lloris.

And the 41-year-old said he and his team-mates should approach the match as if the tie was still locked in a 0-0 stalemate.

"It's a difficult place to play so we will have to be at our best," Friedel said. "You have to take the 3-0 out of your mind."

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