The Tottenham Hotspur trio will know the competition is their best chance for more minutes this season.
After Tottenham Hotspur’s elimination from the FA Cup at the hands of Crystal Palace, some of their fringe players will know the Europa League is their last realistic chance of game-time between now and the end of the campaign.
With Spurs flying high in the Premier League, manager Mauricio Pochettino will play his strongest available starting XI week in, week out as he bids to overtake leaders Leicester City while keeping Manchester City and Arsenal at bay.
And while he will need strength in depth in order to deal with injuries and suspensions and to shake things up when things are not going his way, the simple fact is there are some Tottenham players who will get a few minutes at most in that competition.
For that reason, the Europa League offers them hope of sustaining their own campaigns and here are three Tottenham players who will be desperate to overcome Fiorentina on Thursday evening:
Midfielder Ryan Mason’s season has been blighted by minor injuries but he captained the side in the first leg against the Italians and looks likely to feature again at White Hart Lane.
The 24-year-old has not featured in the league since late November and with Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier excelling in his absence, Europe is Mason’s saving grace.
What a strange season it has been for Nabil Bentaleb. From being hailed as the next big thing after some wonderful performances in the last campaign, the Algerian international has fallen out of favour.
Injuries have played their part, but with just 10 first-team appearances in all competitions this season he has some catching up to do.
While he did not feature in the first leg, Bentaleb will know this competition is now his only realistic chance of impressing Pochettino in the short term.
Josh Onomah is the latest in an increasingly long line of youngsters to get a chance at Tottenham, but following their FA Cup elimination he will find starts hard to come by in the short term.
That said, he has already appeared four times in the Europa League this season and more are likely to follow provided they remain in the competition in the months ahead.