It sure felt like a loss when the whistle blew on Sunday, but Tottenham Hotspur are technically carrying a eight-match unbeaten streak since dropping the season opener. Yes, that has come with a couple disappointing Premier League draws and not the cleanest run through Europa League qualifiers, but all in all the club could be doing much worse right now.
There is no time to sulk on missed points as the Europa League Group Stage begins. Spurs’ are the heavy favorites in Group J and will host Austrian side LASK during the first match week. The visitors fell in the Playoff Round of the Champions League last season before eventually falling in the Europa League Round of 16 to Manchester United by a 7-1 aggregate scoreline.
Jose Mourinho played some fairly strong sides during the three qualifying rounds, and he is clearly taking this competition seriously. However, those were one-legged ties with little margin for error, unlike the Group Stage which gives Tottenham a little breathing room. Add in the fact that the team is about as deep as it ever has been, and this could be an opportunity for some good rotation.
Whoever takes the pitch on Thursday will be responsible for reminding everyone of how the match started against West Ham. This Spurs side can be extremely dangerous, and while there are some defensive issues to work out, the ceiling still remains very high. A comfortable win at home should be the expectation, and being able to start the Group Stage on the right foot seems as important as ever, especially in terms of how it reflects the team’s mentality.
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