The WAC is on Thursday (6:55 p.m. / live pulse 4) before a club history game. For the first time the club is in the knockout phase of the European Cup, the opponent in the sixteenth-finals is a worthy one with Tottenham. The blatant outsider from Carinthia does not have to feel any pressure, the anticipation is even greater. “I notice it with me, with the boys and in the whole club. We’re enjoying the moment,” said coach Ferdinand Feldhofer before the first leg in Budapest.
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Feldhofer: “Want to have a chance in the second leg”
Feldhofer admitted that his team has been enthusiastic about the duel with the currently ailing traditional English club of start coach Jose Mourinho and top striker Harry Kane. “I tried to keep that away,” explained the former ÖFB team kicker, who as a coach is also experiencing a premiere at this level himself. All the greater is his “respect” for the players who are back on track after a difficult start in the new year and who recently defeated Admira 2-1.
The trip away, which was necessary because of the refused landing permit for Tottenham in Klagenfurt due to the corona pandemic, should not be a pure pleasure trip. “We already have a goal, otherwise we could stay at home straight away,” emphasized Feldhofer. “We can only enjoy ourselves if we can counter it. We want to get a result that gives us another chance in the second leg. We have come up with a plan.”
She has already proven that his troops do not need to hide internationally. Victories over Feyenoord Rotterdam (4: 1 / a, 1: 0 / h) and CSKA Moscow (1: 0 / a) as well as a draw against the Russians (1: 1 / h) in the group stage demonstrated the international maturity of the Wolves ” under Evidence. LASK has already shown this season that the English can be cracked in the Europa League. In the group stage, the Linz team conceded a 0: 3 away, but won at least one point from the favorite at 3: 3.
Tottenham in crisis
In addition, Tottenham is currently less concerned with the European Cup than the lack of results in the Premier League. Since the end of January Kane and Co. have suffered four defeats in five games, the title dreams have been ticked, Mourinho is already under pressure. Feldhofer does not want to dwell on that. “They were first in the (sixteenth-final) draw,” recalled the Styrian. “They recently lost to top teams like Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. You should draw the right conclusions from that.”
An important game against West Ham awaits the Spurs at the weekend, and it is to be expected that Mourinho will factor in this fact in the line-up. “Regardless of the composition, they are an absolute top team and a favorite to win the Europa League,” noted Feldhofer. Assuming that calibers like Gareth Bale or Dele Alli, who are rarely used in the league, are in the starting eleven in Budapest, one can only agree with the WAC coach anyway.
Mourinho only with a B-Elf?
Mourinho confirmed to the press on Wednesday that he will give several regular players a break. Some of his kickers are tired after the stresses of the past few days. “I would of course like to have all of my A’s players, but that is not possible,” he said. He does not feel any pressure with regard to the WAC duel. “I feel responsibility. It’s about responsibility, motivation and ambition. We talked to the players about it and will do it again today.”
In contrast to his Portuguese counterpart (“There is no better coach for knockout games”), Feldhofer will summon his “Einserpanier”. Captain Michael Liendl, who was elected player of the round by UEFA after his triple against Feyenoord, was last spared. However, it is questionable whether midfield clearer Mario Leitgeb, who was missing in the last three games with calf problems, can play this time.
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