Andre Villas-Boas’s Tottenham side may have exited the Europa League, but the Portuguese boss is pleased to have altered the perception of the tournament within British soccer.
Two goals from Clint Dempsey were enough to send the match to extra time, which Spurs battled through after the dismissal of Jan Vertonghen, before being knocked out in a penalty shootout.
And although Villas-Boas was saddened to see his side’s Europa League hopes come to a premature end, he believes the respect Tottenham has shown for the tournament will change the way Premier League sides approach the competition in the future.
“I'm disappointed not to go through as we had high ambitions for the competition,” Villas-Boas told ITV after the match. “My first thoughts are for the players, who have set the country a great example.
“The way they approached the Europa League, playing every Thursday and Sunday, and their commitment showed the country it was possible to do it in a different way. We made the country feel different towards the competition.
“Unfortunately Newcastle are out too but we've seen most of the English teams change their approach towards a competition that has now started to mean a lot.
“We're happy although this is a great disappointment, because we've set a standard for the future. I think next time we'll go a little bit better.”