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#Men'sFirstTeam #EuropaLeague #PreMatch #LASK #BenDavies

Ben Davies: "Europa League starts now"

Wed 21 October 2020, 10:00|Tottenham Hotspur

It’s already been quite a journey, but Ben Davies feels our UEFA Europa League campaign begins this week with Austrian side LASK in N17 for the start of the group stage.

We had to come through two testing away qualifiers - Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria, KF Shkendija in North Macedonia - before beating Israeli side Maccabi Haifa 7-2 in the play-off on 1 October.

Now we start the six-match group campaign taking on LASK, before facing Royal Antwerp of Belgium and Bulgarian champions Ludogorets.

“We want to win something this season and now we start in the group stages,” said Ben, who has started all three matches so far. “There were some tricky moments in the qualifying games, but away from home, anything can happen.

“Now we’re in the group stage, this is where it starts, this is where the journey to hopefully winning it begins."

Title challengers in Austria last season before finishing fourth, this is LASK’s third successive season in European football. They reached the last 16 of the competition in 2019/20, where they were beaten by Manchester United.

They stunned Portuguese giants Sporting CP in the play-off with a 4-1 win at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.

“We’ve seen some clips of LASK, we were all aware of the result they had away at Sporting, and this is going to be a tough, tough game,” added Ben, who is in the Club’s top 10 European appearances with 42.

“This is a team who have consistently been involved in Europe in the last few seasons and any team that gets into the group stage of the Europa League has quality, so we have to be prepared for that, and try to get off the mark with three points.”

We’ve seen some clips of LASK, we were all aware of the result they had away at Sporting, and this is going to be a tough, tough game.

Ben Davies

Meanwhile, six years a Spur, you almost didn’t have to ask Ben how much it hurt to lose a 3-0 lead in Sunday’s 3-3 draw against West Ham.

“Yes, that was tough to take,” reflected the Welsh defender, who watched it all unfold from the bench. “In any game, when we were in the situation we were in, we shouldn’t just be coming away with a point, but there are lessons to be learned there. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

You sense that our sparkling start to the game - 3-0 up inside 20 minutes, Harry Kane scoring twice, Heung-Min Son once - and that Harry struck the post to put the issue beyond doubt on 78 minutes have been somewhat lost, but Ben says we can’t forget the positives as well.

“We scored three amazing goals and we’re playing some good football, creating chances and it’s about maintaining that, looking at the positives as well,” he said. "It’s also about sticking together and next time, make sure we see games out better.”