Tottenham will be aiming to turn around their UEFA Europa Conference League tie against Pacos de Ferreira after losing the first leg in Portugal.
Tottenham, having started their Premier League campaign so well, were dealt with a surprising 1-0 loss to Pacos de Ferreira last week. Both teams contested the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League play-offs, and Spurs have a task at hand to get a big win in the second leg in London.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s team have won their first two Premier League games against Manchester City and Wolves by a 1-0 scoreline. They succumbed to a defeat in Portugal courtesy of a weakened lineup that the manager fielded, although it could be a stronger one this time for the second leg encounter.
The Europa Conference League represents a genuine chance to right the wrongs of Tottenham’s history with trophies, and Nuno knows he can win the tournament. There could also be a welcome boost for the manager, with star striker Harry Kane probably set to mark his return to the starting lineup.
Pacos de Ferreira, on the other hand, have a task at hand to keep their cool against Spurs. They might have had the advantage over Tottenham’s weakened squad as well as their overall superior fitness in the first leg. But things might have changed since then, and the Portuguese side could be facing a tougher opposition on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Jorge Simao will have to acknowledge that their victory over Spurs last week hasn’t changed their fortunes domestically. Following their league loss to Boavista, Pacos lost their league clash at home to Estoril Praia, and Simao will be hoping it hasn’t dented their confidence before facing Tottenham.
Team News & Tactics
Nuno fielded a more contained lineup against Manchester City but put his preferred plans in place while facing Wolves. It looked like a 4-3-3, and the Portuguese would preferably retain that particular shape. Oliver Skipp has enjoyed an impressive period at the base of Tottenham’s midfield in the first two games. For the security Skipp provides, the manager will likely retain him in the side against Pacos.
However, Nuno will bring in many of his experienced stars while some of the players who played in the first leg could also return. The likes of Pierluigi Gollini, Bryan Gil, Giovanni Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon should be back in the lineup. Cristian Romero could also be in line for a start after having recovered from a training injury he picked up.
Harry Kane might find a place in the starting lineup for the first time this season, after putting an end to the transfer saga by committing his future to Tottenham. The England captain will lead the line on his own, while regular partner Heung-min Son could be rested or placed on the bench.
Nuno could start with Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso on either side of Skipp to gain control from midfield. Lucas Moura and Bryan Gil could be preferred to flank Kane in the attack.
Meanwhile, Matt Doherty could get a chance at redemption playing right-back, and Ben Davies could be moved to a central defensive position to partner Romero, with both Joe Rodon and Cameron Carter-Vickers unavailable. The manager will likely retain a strong substitutes bench in case his primary plan goes for a toss.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Gollini; Doherty, Romero, Davies, Sessegnon; Winks, Skipp, Lo Celso; Moura, Kane, Gil
Pacos de Ferreira
Jorge Simao will have to contend with some injuries to key players in his squad. The likes of Jordi and Mohamed Diaby are definitely out of the game. Joao Vigario and Maracas will be assessed late, although their current status still is doubtful.
Simao could match Tottenham’s formation with a 4-3-3 himself and will field a similar defence as in the last game. Meaning a back four comprising Fernando Fonseca, Flavio Ramos, Marco Baixinho and Antunes could be in place with goalkeeper Andre Ferreira behind them.
Luiz Carlos could start on the right side of the midfield three, with Stephen Eustaquio holding the base and Nuno Santos playing from the left side.
Denilson could lead the line in attack, as the forward still looks to regain some form after a bad start to the season. Juan Delgado will flank him on the right side of the attack and Lucas Silva supporting from the left.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ferreira; Fonseca, Ramos, Baixinho, Antunes; Carlos, Eustaquio, Santos; Delgado, Silva, Denilson
- Pacos have lost their two league games on either side of their win against Tottenham in the first leg.
- Tottenham have won both their league games this season.
- Before the first leg encounter, Pacos last played in European competition back in 2013.
- Pacos have managed victory only once before in qualifying rounds, beating Zimbru Chisinau in 2009.
- Pacos’ win against Spurs in the first leg was their first-ever victory against an English side.
Player To Watch
After flirting with the idea of leaving Tottenham for Manchester City, Kane has decided against a move and break the gridlock. With the England captain set to spend his time in north London for the foreseeable future, he will likely start against Pacos.
Kane needs to be the main man in this clash to prove his worthiness to the Spurs fanbase again with many of them still upset over the summer’s drama. More importantly, Spurs need to win this second leg to progress, and there is no better player to help out in these situations like Kane.
Tottenham 3-0 Pacos de Ferreira
The first-leg result for Pacos might have been a good start, but on a grander scale, it was just a blip for Spurs. After finding the mistakes of fielding a weaker lineup in the first leg, Nuno Espirito Santo is set to make amends by bringing the experienced guys back in.
The likes of Kane and Moura will prove to be a handful for Pacos defenders, while Romero could prove his worth to Nuno by having an exceptional game in defence. Expect Spurs to win this second leg clash by three clear goals and move ahead in the tournament with a 3-1 aggregate win against Pacos.