To add to your matchday experience here on tottenhamhotspur.com, we will now publish Juande Ramos' notes from our official matchday programme - here is tonight's column for our UEFA Cup first round, first leg against Wisla Krakow.
If you can't make it to the Lane, why not pick up a copy of the official programme - CLICK HERE to purchase online...
JUANDE RAMOS' PROGRAMME NOTES, SPURS V WISLA KRAKOW, THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2008
We welcome Wisla Krakow tonight in the second of three games here at White Hart Lane over a seven-day period.
It is always preferable to be playing matches regularly without distraction and our fixture programme over the next two weeks provides us with the perfect opportunity to do so.
This evening marks the beginning of our UEFA Cup campaign, a competition we all hope we have a long association with during this campaign. Like last season, the quality of teams in the UEFA Cup is high, but our focus must not stray from the task immediately in front of us.
Our thoughts right now are solely on progressing to the group phase of this competition. Wisla are the obstacle we must overcome in order to realise this aim.
It does not matter who you are paired with in a European contest- no fixture is ever completely straightforward. Each club has achieved in their respective domestic competitions to advance to this stage of the UEFA Cup- whether that is via a strong league finish or winning a trophy.
Wisla have been crowned Polish champions six times in the past 10 years and have entered the UEFA Cup this year through the Champions League qualifying stage so we know we are faced with a difficult task. They are always challenging for the top honours in Poland and are a side that are regularly seen competing in European competition season after season.
Tonight's match is of great importance because of the need to take a good result into the away leg in a fortnight's time at a venue where they have proved strong in the past and enjoyed success against Barcelona just over three weeks ago, despite losing the tie on aggregate.
Last weekend saw the end of their 20-match unbeaten run at Stadion Wisly but Maciej Skorza and his players will be eager to address this setback swiftly in order to begin a new chain of positive results.
Last year, I came up against Wisla in a pre-season friendly in a tournament in Chicago. They are a classic Polish side that employ a brand of football, which is characteristic of Eastern European sides - fast and aggressive.
A challenging evening lies in store but the players we have here have great potential to take this club far. Hard work and determination is the key but we have the components to make this happen.
Enjoy the game.