Published: Fri, February 17, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Gent vs Tottenham Hotspur, Europa League 2016/17


Gent burst out of the blocks and swept the ball into Tottenham's penalty area in the opening minute, but the Premier League side soon began to dictate the play with academy graduate Harry Winks taking charge in midfield.

After a fairly uninspiring campaign in La Liga and an atrocious performance in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening, Luis Enrique's time with Barcelona seems to be up- and Mauricio Pochettino has been touted as a potential replacement. Nonetheless, his growing reputation in the game and his achievements with Tottenham thus far are sure to see him linked with clubs in Europe on a more regular basis.

Tottenham's starting team was a strong one on paper, five days on from the 2-0 Premier League loss to Liverpool.

The visitors pushed forward in the closing stages as they searched for an equaliser, but the final ball was lacking on each occasion, which saw Gent hold on for victory.

Defender Vertonghen (ankle) could return for the FA Cup game against Fulham on Sunday but Thursday's match in Belgium comes too soon.

"It's always a bad feeling when you lose".

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Before the game, Mauricio Pochettino said his players wanted the opportunity to make amends for their 2-0 defeat at Liverpool, and he made just two changes, with Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks replacing Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min.

Former Arsenal star Freddie Ljungberg believes Tottenham Hotspur must be considered serious contenders for this season's Europa League title - if they can avoid a late-season collapse.

"In your mind it has to be like the Champions League", Lloris said.

He seems up for the job though, quipping that now the contract is done he must "focus on the pitch" and look to help Spurs deliver their targets. It's more about the spirit. Before we had been talking a lot about how we'd play that game, how we'd start.

"In your mind this competition has to be like the Champions League. It wasn't the best game but we created chances to try to score but we cannot score".

Danny Rose is also still missing as he continues to recover from a knee injury so Ben Davies is expected to keep his place at left-back.

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