AVB: English teams respect Europa
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes his side's Europa League exploits this season have changed the attitude of English teams to UEFA's second string competition for good, despite their quarter-final exit at the hands of Swiss side FC Basel.
A heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat was the final act of Tottenham's European adventure for another season and a rain soaked Villas-Boas struggled to contain his disappointment after his side battled in vain despite being reduced to 10-men following a red card for defender Jan Vertonghen.
Yet Villas-Boas tried to find a silver lining in his side's latest disappointment, with his pride in their approach offering him some consolation on another desperate night for Spurs.
"Obviously we are disappointed not to go through as we had high ambitions for this competition," he told ITV Sport. "My first thoughts are for the players because they set for the country a great, great example in the Europa League this season.
"We had to dig in deep to hold on, we wanted to reach penalties to be in with a chance. It didn't go our way in the penalties, but we are extremely happy with the performance here tonight.
"The way they played every Thursday and Sunday, the commitment they made to the competition, it showed the country that we could approach this competition in a different way.
"For this example to come from Tottenham is something I will always cherish, the change of approach. We made the country feel differently about the competition, but we have seen most of the teams change their approach to a competition that now means a lot.
"Although this is a great disappointment, we have set a great standard for the future. Hopefully it will go a little better in the future because it couldn't go any worse than it did tonight."
Meanwhile, irate former Tottenham chairman Lord Alan Sugar reacted to the club's Europa League exit by calling for Villas-Boas to be sacked, in an angry outburst via his Twitter account that pointed an accusing finger at spot kick failures Tom Huddlestone and Emmanuel Adebayor.
"AVB should be fired," he wrote. "No tactics. Been lucky up till now with results. How can he put Huddlestone as pen taker. Then Adebayor you knew would miss."