The Reasonable Advocate
- Oct 17, 2006
LOKOMOTIV PLOVDIV 1-2 SPURSSpurs: Lloris (C), Doherty, Dier, Sanchez (Moura), Davies, Hojbjerg, Sissoko (Ndombele), Bergwijn, Lo Celso, Son, Kane.
Minchev KANE, NDOMBELE
Minchev KANE, NDOMBELE
Subs: Hart, Carter-Vickers, Sessegnon, Lamela, Winks.
Lokomotiv Plovdiv: Lukov, Petrovic, Masoero, Dinis Costa, Karagaren, Vitanov, Umarboev, Tsevtanov, Salinas, Aralica, Iliev (C).
Subs: Pirgov, Muslimovic, Pugliese, Ilic, Minchev, Nikolaev, Mihaljevic.
Official Site Match Centre
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We begin our Europa League campaign in the second qualifying round with a 2,500km-long midweek journey to the Stadion Lokomotiv in Plovdiv, Bulgaria to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv. Jose will be looking for a response from our team after our listless performance in the 1-0 loss to Everton in our opening Premier League fixture. Our clubs have not played each other yet. Thursday night's Europa League encounter will be the first time that we do so.
After last season's sixth-placed finish, Jose will be under pressure to deliver a trophy and will view the Europa League as a good opportunity to do so. Our opponents Lokomotiv Plovdiv belong to the First Professional Football League in Bulgaria and are also entering the midweek match on the back of a league defeat to Ludogorets.
With both teams looking to bounce back after a disappointing outing over the weekend, the match should possess an inviting edge to it. For us, it is a must win should we harbour hopes of adding weight to our trophy cabinet this season.
Lokomotiv Plovdiv may be coming off a loss but there will be no doubts that the Bulgarian side, sitting fifth in the league, will relish the challenge of taking us on in midweek. In fact, Plovdiv's chairman was quoted as saying, as soon as the draw was announced, that he was confident of his team's chances against us. It is a confidence that Plovdiv's coach Bruno Akrapovic apparently shares, as he too claimed he welcomes the challenge that we would pose. Additionally, Lokomotiv Plovdiv have enjoyed a good run in home games this season, having won two out of two. They appear to be a fairly settled side, five games into their domestic league campaign.
Jose Mourinho has important decisions to make ahead of the match following our lacklustre performance against Everton in their opening Premier League fixture. With Giovani Lo Celso possibly available to play after missing the weekend's game due to a thigh strain, he tactician has to decide if he is fit enough to play the entire ninety minutes, or if necessity dictates it.
Alternatively, the game could also present the embattled Tanguy Ndombele a chance to earn some brownie points with Mourinho by putting in a solid shift. Dele was whisked off at half time against Everton after an anonymous showing. It will be interesting to see if he will start against Plovdiv too.
Kane and Son will be keen to open their respective goal-scoring accounts for the season and should lead the line, alongside Lucas. Japhet Tanganga is the only player definitely ruled out due to injury.
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