Spurs need a response after Europa shock
Jose Mourinho will be looking for a response from his under-fire Tottenham side when they travel to Villa Park in the Premier League on Sunday.
Tottenham were dumped out of the Europa League at the last-16 stage after an embarrassing 3-0 extra-time defeat against Dinamo Zagreb that saw their 2-0 first leg lead wiped out by the Croatian side.
Hugo Lloris called the performance a “disgrace” while manager Jose Mourinho said he was “disappointed for a difference of attitude of one team to another.”
The Europa League exit comes after Spurs were beaten 2-1 in the north London derby last weekend. Tottenham are down in eighth but just six points off the top four with a game in hand.
Jose Mourinho’s side have lost their last seven matches in the Premier League against a top-half side since they beat Arsenal in December.
Tottenham have been beaten in nine league games this season, the joint most Mourinho has lost in a campaign in his career.
The Portuguese manager is under major pressure to get a top-four place after the possibility of gaining Champions League qualification through winning the Europa League was extinguished.
Aston Villa form
Aston Villa’s form has stuttered of late after their brilliant start to the season. The Villains sit ninth, four points behind Tottenham with a game in hand. European football is now a distant dream but this has still been a season of progression for Dean Smith’s side.
In recent weeks, they have struggled to score goals and create chances due to the absence of talisman Jack Grealish. Villa have won one of their last six and scored just three goals in those games. The hosts have scored six goals in their last nine games.
Villa conceded in stoppage time to draw 1-1 against Newcastle, which was a sickener for the side as they were moments away from another clean sheet. Only Man City and Chelsea have more clean sheets than Aston Villa’s 14.
Ollie Watkins is six matches without a goal as Dean Smith’s side have found it hard to provide the striker – who was named in the England squad on Thursday – with regular service.
Dean Smith said Jack Grealish will be assessed on Saturday ahead of the game with the Villa captain possibly in line to make a return.
Aston Villa have lost 11 of their last 12 matches against Tottenham in all competitions. Spurs are unbeaten in nine away Premier League games against Aston Villa (W7, D2), winning the last five in a row.
Featured image: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks dejected following defeat in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspur at Stadion Maksimir. (Photo by Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images)