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Dec 7, 2012

Villas-Boas targets Chelsea showdown

Andre Villas-Boas insists group stage drop-outs from the Champions League shouldn't be allowed to enter the Europa League, singling out his former employers Chelsea as a target for his side.

Villas-Boas, speaking after Tottenham's 3-1 Europa League win over Panathinaikos, claims it is "extremely unfair" on clubs already in the Europa League.

"I think it's extremely unfair," he said. "It would be much fairer if the clubs came in to the Europa League when they are knocked out of the last 16 of the Champions League.

"You can't give a bonus to teams who have failed, and in the situation as it stands, teams fail in the Champions League and are promoted to the Europa League, which, in my opinion, is a massive bonus.

"I've not made this up today. I have said this in UEFA meetings before. It's up to them to decide but I think it's not fair.

"Sometimes it's destiny. Hopefully if we go through we can meet each other. They [Chelsea] have a team that can win the trophy, so they will be up to the late stages of the competition. We hope to do so. If we cross it is going to be two magnificent games for sure."

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas claims the near full-strength side he fielded in Spurs' win proves that the club are making a serious challenge in the competition.

Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring for Tottenham before the Greek side equalised through ZeCarlos Gomes, but an own goal and a Jermain Defoe strike sealed their progression to the knockout stages.

Villas-Boas has maintained throughout the season that his side do not see the Europa League as a secondary competition and Spurs' strong league position has allowed them to focus in Europe.

"We've been scoring lots of goals," Villas-boas said. "We have goals in ourselves and excellent people assisting and scoring. If we were sitting 13th or 14th you would have an argument not to have us take this competition seriously. We proved that is the not the case. The motivation we will get from that is tremendous.

"Panathinaikos put in a good performance, they were very well organised. When they equalised it brought a bit more emotion into the game.

"They had a big chance at 1-1, but it would've been unfair if we had lost. It was a good solid performance during the 90 minutes. We managed to hold on and score which was important for us."

Defoe scored his fifth goal of the group stage, adding to his nine Premier League goals this season. He was given the chance to combine with Adebayor in the Spurs attack, but the 30-year-old believes it is Tottenham's depth that has helped them in Europe.

"When you play with good players they will always create chances for the forwards to score," he told ITV4. "It's been good - not just me and Ade [Emmanuel Adebayor] - I think everyone played their part.

"Hopefully we can keep it going - it was a good victory. Everyone wants to do well in the competition - we want to win it. Now we've got an important game at the weekend against Everton, a great side."

Panathinaikos coach Juan Roman Rocha was proud of his players despite their elimination from the competition.

"It was a good performance," he said. "We had some hope but it was always going to be a very difficult game against Tottenham. They are one of the Premier League challengers.

"Maybe we could have nicked it but in the end we cannot dwell on the past, it is finished and we have to look forward to the next game."

After finishing second in their group, Tottenham could face one of the Champions League casualties in Benfica, Olympiacos or CFR Cluj in the round of 32.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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