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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
SportSoccer
EUROPA LEAGUE

Long-awaited win gives Spurs lift for trip to Greece

Beating Man United for first time in 27 games has made Villas-Boas's team more confident

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2012, 1:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2012, 2:09am

Tottenham will head into their second Europa League group match away to Panathinaikos brimming with confidence after notching up a first Premier League victory over Manchester United in 27 attempts at the weekend.

After a slow start to Andre Villas-Boas's reign at White Hart Lane, three straight league wins, including the 3-2 thriller at Old Trafford, have taken Spurs into fifth place and seem to have turned the tide for their Portuguese manager.

A first win over Alex Ferguson's team since May 2001 left Villas-Boas over the moon as Spurs now aim for a first European trophy since 1984, when they beat Anderlecht to claim the then-Uefa Cup.

"We feel confident now and our form has been impressive," said Villas-Boas, who won the Europa League with Porto in 2011.

"We don't stop here though. We have to improve our home form as well and we have to focus on that to make sure we continue this sequence.

"We now go to Panathinaikos and it will be important to get the win there to put us back on track in the group stage of the Europa League."

Spurs were held to a 0-0 draw by Italian side Lazio in their opening group J match.

Spurs' Premier League rivals Liverpool almost paid the price for fielding a near second-string side for their Europa League opener with Swiss side Young Boys, but held on to win a thrilling match 5-3.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who has come under pressure with his team having racked up just one win in their six league outings this season, said: "Of course we could have defended better and there is no question the three goals we gave away were disappointing.

"But to draw positives, the young players were so courageous and brave to play and show that confidence, and my senior players were very much together and kept the young guys going."

The third Premier League club in action are Newcastle, who host the high-flying Ligue 1 side Bordeaux. Like Spurs, the Magpies were held to a 0-0 draw, by Maritimo on the island of Madeira, and will be hoping to close down a Bordeaux attack that notched up four goals in their opener against Club Bruges.

Defending champions Atletico Madrid host the Czech club Viktoria Plzen, having comfortably beaten the Israeli club Hapoel Tel-Aviv 3-0 in their opener.

Atletico, 3-0 victors over La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao in last season's final, demolished Chelsea 4-1 in the Uefa Super Cup and will be looking to extend their European winning streak to 15 matches in the group B clash.

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