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KAA Gent v Spurs - opposing manager's view

16 February 2017|Tottenham Hotspur

Gent manager and birthday boy Hein Vanhaezebrouck expects a high-level test for his side in the Europa League tonight – on a similar level to the one they faced against Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the competition.

The Belgian side went down 5-0 away and 5-3 at home to the Ukrainian outfit in the group stage – their only two losses in their continental run in 2016-17 thus far.

Having led his charges to qualification for the last 32 as runners-up to Shakhtar in Group H, Vanhaezebrouck has urged his men to avoid individual slip-ups in what he says will be “a very difficult game” against us at the Ghelamco Arena this evening (Thursday, February 16).

“We’re playing against not only a team from the Premier League which is already an impressive league but secondly a team that is fighting even to win the Premier League,” said the former Kortrijk boss, who is 53 today.

“Okay, they did maybe not the best thing by losing in Liverpool (last Saturday) but that can happen. (Spurs are) one of the better teams in the Premier League, it’s a team that plays very good football, has a lot of qualities in every line and that makes it a very hard task for us but we are Gent and we are not afraid of anybody. We were not afraid of anyone in the past and that turned out very well in several games in the Champions League (last season) as well as this year, not being afraid of playing all the teams in our group (in the Europa League).

“Against Shakhtar I found we played two very good games in the beginning but individual errors and then the individual class of Shakhtar made the difference and we got beaten two times quite severely so now I can compare this game a little bit with the Shakhtar games.

“We're going to have to be top, we cannot give away easy mistakes otherwise they are going to cash it (in) immediately so it will be very important to avoid individual mistakes, otherwise you don’t (give yourselves) a chance against a team like Tottenham.

“If we are good as a team and avoid those errors then I can tell you it’s going to be a battle. We're not going to be pushed away completely but you need to avoid individual mistakes.”