DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Brad Friedel and Tottenham will attempt to avoid collapse in Milan on Thursday, and will be confident of protecting their three-goal lead over Inter and progressing to the Europa League quarterfinal.
Spurs were dominant in the first leg at White Hart Lane one week ago, putting three on the board against their Italian opponents while maintaining the shut-out.
Only the most monumental of miracles will keep them from advancing to the the next round, however head coach Andre Villas-Boas is taking no chances and has brought all available players to Italy.
While the team's top player in Gareth Bale will be forced to watch the game on TV due to his yellow card suspension, both Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor have recovered from the slight injuries that kept them out of weekend action, and have made the trip from London.
Even Inter head coach Andrea Stramaccioni has expressed doubts that his team can turn around the deficit, and his omission of Alvaro Pereira, Dejan Stankovic, Ezequiel Schelotto and Marco Benassi from the squad for the game signals that he is heavily prioritizing league play.
With Diego Milito and Walter Samuel also in the process of lengthy recovery from injuries, Inter will likely be playing for pride in front of the home crowd, rather than with their sights set on any European glory.
In addition to Bale, Villas-Boas also has several players out, most notably Clint Dempsey who is not schedule to return from his calf injury until the weekend. Additionally, Younes Kaboul and Sandro are both out with knee injuries.