Bale and Adebayor to miss Spurs European clash with Maribor
The north Londoners come to Slovenia third in Group J following draws in their opening matches at home to Lazio and away to Panathinaikos. It is the first of a double-header with Maribor, starting with Thursday's clash at the Stadion Ljudski vrt before the return fixture at White Hart Lane in two weeks.
"I think these two games with Maribor is going to be the decisive point of the group phase," Tottenham boss Villas-Boas said.
"A point will not be a bad result as it will keep us tight with Maribor. Lazio can escape if they beat Panathinaikos tomorrow. But our two games with Maribor will be decisive. After those we will see where we stand, before we have a home game with Panathinaikos and a difficult trip to Lazio."
Maribor were defeated in the group stage by second-tier Birmingham in last season's competition and when asked whether they were a side Tottenham should be beating, Villas-Boas said: "Yes, for the players we have and the team that we have this is clear.
"But it doesn't always go like that and that is the reality of the game. You saw only yesterday Manchester United struggling against Braga - two teams of completely opposite dimensions."
Villas-Boas has brought a strong-looking 19-man squad with him to Slovenia, although he will have to do without several key names.
Mousa Dembele remains sidelined with a hip complaint and goalkeeper Brad Friedel has stayed at home, meaning Hugo Lloris will start the game. Bale also stayed in the UK after his girlfriend gave birth to their first child at the weekend, which saw him miss the 4-2 home defeat to Chelsea.
Adebayor is the other big name not to have travelled with Tottenham, which Villas-Boas says is due to back pain. However, there were reports the Togo striker could ask to miss the trip to Slovenia as he was unhappy about his chances of winning a starting berth.
"He's pretty happy," Villas-Boas said of Adebayor. "Certainly Ade is a player who wants to come into the team, but Jermain Defoe's form and the structure that we are using now, plus the injury setback he suffered after the Reading game, hasn't allowed him the playing time that he deserved."
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