New look Spurs begin hunt

A revamped Tottenham Hotspur will headline the Premier League’s quest for Europa League success when the group stage begins on Thursday.
Spurs, winners of the competition in 1972 and 1984, will also be joined by Welsh outfit Swansea City and English second-tier side and European debutants Wigan Athletic.
Tottenham again finished agonisingly out of the Champions League places last season, consigning them to the Europa League for the third year running.
Andre Villas-Boas’s men were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage on penalties by Switzerland’s Basel a year ago, but a favourable draw — Tromso, Sheriff Tiraspol and Anzhi Makachkala accompany Spurs in Group K — has the north Londoners targeting another deep run.
Despite the departure of talisman Gareth Bale, Spurs have reinforced their squad with seven new signings.
“Obviously the Europa League is a massive competition and we’ve got a big squad this season, so we’re looking to really challenge on all fronts,” said midfielder Andros Townsend, who faces increased competition following the arrivals of Christian Eriksen, Paulinho and Erik Lamela.
“We’ve got the squad to challenge on all fronts, but first and foremost we’ve got to focus on getting out of our group,” added Townsend ahead of the visit of Norway’s Tromso.
Swansea travel to Valencia in their opening Group A match, marking a return to Spain for manager Michael Laudrup, who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid and guided Getafe to the quarter-finals in 2008.
Laudrup’s Premier League side, who qualified by virtue of winning the English League Cup, features a sizeable Spanish contingency, although ex-Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez will miss out against his former club due to a hamstring injury.
“It will be another very difficult game for us,” said Laudrup, whose team were also drawn with Russian club Kuban Krasnodar and Swiss side St Gallen.
Defender Ashley Williams said: “It is nights and games like this that you look forward to and as a squad we will certainly give this our very best shot.” Also, FA Cup winners Wigan face Belgian outfit Zulte Waregem.

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