The consensus here at CFC is that AVB should plump for predominantly a youth side in our upcoming second leg against Dinamo.
Well, I'd beg to differ. To me the game represents an opportunity to keep our momentum rolling along, and for players who have had very little football together to continue to gel as a unit.
It's early in the season, we don't need to rest players. We had a pretty lousy pre-season in terms of our new players not being available, and as we've seen in our first two games there is still a lot of team-building that this side has to do.
To me, you can't play top-level sport expecting injuries. When you start doing that, you create a mind-set that some fixtures are more important than others, rather than a mentality that every game has to be player at peak performance. In the EPL you have to turn up every match and gun for the three points. It's not always been a strength of Tottenham, who have something of a history of not winning games they're expected to.
Another good win against Dinamo would further boost confidence, coming into the big match on the weekend against Arsenal. It's an opportunity to score goals and that's what this side need to achieve at this stage.
So to my mind, the likes of Paulhino, Capoue, Soldado, etc all have to play. I want to see us continue to build the combinations on the flanks that we want to see grow like Walker and Townsend. I'd probably give our centre backs a rest, in favour of building up Kaboul and blooding Chiriches, and I'd like to see Holtby get an extended match at this level.
But the rest of those guys need to play. Sure, pull them off with 20 minutes to go and then give your Carroll, Kane, etc a run but to me this tie has presented a wonderful opportunity to get the kind of match experience you ideally would have got in the pre-season.
To me the next month, is going to define how high we can finish this season. Matches against Arsenal and Chelsea and a tricky fixture away against Cardiff stand in front of us. We know we're going to get better as this team gels, but there's also the possibility with some good results in the next four weeks that we finish the first half-dozen games in the top three, with a series of fixtures to follow against lower-ranked teams before we come up against the Manchester teams in mid-November. At that point, we could easily be jostling with both those sides.
So the last thing we need to do, in my view, is treat this as an insignificant match and roll-out the squad and junior players. Let's play close to a full-strength side, build on what we've achieved over the last fortnight and go into the Arsenal match full of confidence, with better combinations and hopefully having bagged another good score. Because the next four fixtures in the EPL are just so critical - we have to do everything we can to make sure we're as strong as possible for them.