Why European football will not affect Tottenham’s league form – if Pochettino is brave

Tottenham Hotspur Logo 2

The Argentine must utilise his squad more effectively this season.

The supposed detrimental effect of a Europa League campaign on domestic form has been well documented, with managers and pundits alike claiming clubs are better off well out of it.

Playing on a Thursday and Sunday consistently will undoubtedly disrupt training schedules, and the prevalence of minnows in far flung corners of Europe make the travel requirements more demanding than Europe’s premier competition.

Despite this, European competition should not be sniffed at - particularly for a club like Tottenham Hotspur whose regular forays into Europe only re-emerged around a decade ago.

It gives clubs a chance to keep large squads happy and, if utilised correctly, promote the development of youngsters.

Harry Kane is the prime example, and his form in the early stages of the Europa League last season saw him force his way into the first-team and never look back.

Following this summer’s transfer window, Mauricio Pochettino now has no excuse for not utilising the full extent of his squad.

Spurs suffered after European games last season – recording just three wins following a Thursday fixture – and a lack of trust in his squad resulted in the Argentine involving too many first-team players in some capacity.

Things should be different this time round, however, with the Lilywhites’ leaner but more focused squad ready to play its part.

Pochettino could field a completely changed starting XI in Thursday’s game against Qarabag and still remain competitive.

Where last season he had to rely on the likes of Capoue, Paulinho and Chiriches, he can now call on the likes of Pritchard, N’Jie and Trippier and can field a team capable of following his instructions across the board.

Aside from Pritchard, academy products like Josh Onomah, Harry Winks and Milos Veljkovic should also be given a chance to prove their worth and ensure Tottenham’s key men are nowhere near the matchday squads - at least initially.

The draw has been kind to Spurs this year - with short trips to Anderlecht and Monaco making up for the long trudge to Azerbaijan - and if Pochettino is brave in his squad selections, there can be no excuse for poor domestic form.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch