After a dismal start to the Premier League season, Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to Bulgaria in the Europa League suddenly takes on new significance. At the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Everton, Spurs were flat and lacking in creativity. Jose Mourinho pointed to some ‘lazy pressing’ and fitness issues; the manager will expect much more from his side on Thursday evening.
Bulgarian Trip Gives Spurs Chance to Bounce Back
Tottenham Hotspur’s Trip to Bulgaria
With last season curtailed due to Covid-19, this Europa League qualifying tie is a one-legged affair that must be settled on the night. There is no time for away game tactics here. Tottenham Hotspur must win or face elimination. Elimination would add further pressure onto Jose Mourinho with unconfirmed rumours circling that some players are not happy with the Portuguese manager.
A tie against Lokomotiv Plovdiv should be a routine assignment for Spurs. However, if they play as they did against Everton, the Bulgarian side will fancy claiming a huge scalp.
Tottenham Squad – Who Will Stay at Home?
The defeat to Everton will have made squad selection for this trip somewhat harder for Mourinho. After this match, Spurs fly home before travelling to Southampton on Sunday for a noon kick off so Mourinho will need to be able to rotate.
Joe Hart may get his full competitive debut with Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez both likely to come in at the back. Despite suggestions that Dele Alli may be used as a makeweight in Tottenham’s bid to bring Gareth Bale back to the club, Jose Mourinho is intent on keeping the England international. Limited striking options mean Harry Kane will lead the line with Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn vying for starting spots.
The Europa League might not have been Tottenham’s main priority ahead of the new season. Now it is a must-win game. Any sign of a performance like the one against Everton and the pressure will simply mount despite only playing two games. The result is important but the performance needs to be professional and show much more energy.
The spectre of Gareth Bale may have fans excited, and rightly so. But, for now, Tottenham need to start gathering some momentum and this can be achieved with a win in Bulgaria.