The Europa League may well serve as a distraction to Tottenham Hotspur's primary ambition of securing a passage into subsequent Champions League competitions, hints former Spurs strike legend Gary Lineker.
Tremendous comeback from Spurs, but they really could do without being in the Europa League next season.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 27, 2014
FC Dnipro defeated Tottenham 1-0 in the first leg of their Round of 32 clash on February 20 and struck the first blow in last night's second leg at White Hart Lane via Roman Zozulya, who headed in on the 47th minute mark to leave Spurs trailing 2-0 on aggregate - with an away goal in the Ukraine team's possession.
However, Spurs embarked on one of the greatest comebacks of the season as Christian Eriksen converted a free kick ten minutes after Zozulya's effort, prior to a four minute Emmanuel Adebayor brace to see Spurs go through to the next round due to a 3-2 overall score.
The North London Lilywhites now face Benfica on March 13, four days ahead of a crucial derby against Arsenal at home.
Considering how consistently Tottenham suffer from a European hangover the weekend after they compete in the Europa League, Lineker does have a point.
After all, Norwich City upset them 1-0 last Sunday, Liverpool slaughtered Spurs 5-0 after their victory over Anzhi, Newcastle United beat them 1-0 after their 2-1 win over Sheriff Tiraspol, West Ham United won 3-0 in October - three days after an away trip in Europe, while the qualifying rounds also appeared detrimental to their domestic form.
However, teams who have been successful in the Europa League do, traditionally, go on to become strong in the Champions League: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Porto are just some of the winners in the past decade.