Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs eye Europa League semi-finals
They could both be forgiven for dreaming of more lucrative adventures in the Champions League come next season, but tonight Chelsea and Tottenham will have their eyes focused on a place in Europa League semi-finals
Both must put thoughts of the Champions League aside at least for 90 minutes as they prepare to meet Steaua Bucharest and Inter Milan respectively.
Spurs, twice winners of Europa League predecessor tournament the UEFA Cup, would have been in the Champions League this season, had Chelsea’s not beaten Bayern Munich in the final.
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez admitted that Champions League qualification is the overriding goal but would happily lift a trophy which would enable Chelsea to complete the set of European Cup, the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup and also UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League.
Spurs’ manager Andre Villas-Boas meanwhile will be satisfied that his side are on a roll after beating Arsenal to move third. Spurs have twice lifted the UEFA Cup, which Inter have won thrice. Newcastle complete the English list. They face Guus Hiddink’s Anji Makhachkala in Moscow.