Spurs game on amid Ukraine unrest

19 February 2014 07:02

Tottenham's Europa League round-of-32 first leg against Dnipro is still scheduled to go ahead despite plans for a day of mourning in Ukraine following the political unrest in Kiev, UEFA has announced.

Dnipro are based in the city of Dnipropetrosk, 220 miles away from Kiev, where scenes of death and bloodshed continue to be beamed around the world as police clash with anti-goverment protestors.

Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, has declared February 20 a day of mourning for the victims of the clashes but UEFA insists Thursday's match will be unaffected.

A UEFA spokesman said: "The team is there, they have had their press conference.

"As it stands there is no indication it would not go ahead."

Spurs boss Tim Sherwood, meanwhile, is targeting an impressive first-leg performance as he believes nothing looks better on a manager's curriculum vitae than winning silverware.

The competition has long-been seen as a nuisance for many Barclays Premier League sides but Sherwood's predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas, was a staunch advocate of its merits and now the new man at the helm has echoed those views.

When asked when he would prefer Champions League qualification via a top-four finish in the league or a Europa League winners' medal, he said: "On the CV of a manager? It is about winning.

"We have seen that down the years, a lot of managers have won this down the years and gone on to bigger and better things. It is the priority of the club to win both - the place in the Champions League and the Europa League.

"We believe that we have a big enough squad to do that. Anyone who will tell you that winning trophies doesn't look best on the CV would be lying to you."

Spurs have left a whole host of first-team regulars in London, with the likes of the in-form Emmanuel Adebayor, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and England full-back Kyle Walker among those who will not feature.

But Sherwood insists it is niggling injuries, rather than any slight at either the competition or their opponents, that has led to such a measure.

"We respect the tournament, we have come this far and we want to continue and progress in the competition," he said.

"The players we have left at home are the players who are injured and would not be fit to play in the team. We hope they will be fit for Sunday [the Premier League fixture at Norwich].

"We will probably have a minimum of eight internationals in the team, six of which you will probably see at the World Cup.

"It is the only cup competition we are left in and we have enough players in our squad to compete in both competitions and that is what we intend to do."

With the game in Dnipro taking place against the backdrop of unrest in Kiev, Sherwood does not want to let the events affect his players and their goals.

"We are just concentrating on playing football and getting the game out of the way," he added.

"It is never great to see scenes of violence in any country at any time. It is not something we concentrate on."

Source: PA

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