By Will Butcher
Charlie Nicholas believes Tottenham will secure a comfortable victory against Gent on Thursday night in the Europa League.
Spurs must overcome a 1-0 deficit from their first-leg tie at Wembley Stadium against their Belgian opponents, if they are to progress into the competition’s round of 16.
Nicholas claimed on the Sky Sports website that Spurs will secure a comfortable 3-0 victory, even if manager Mauricio Pochettino decides to make a handful of changes.
The pundit believes that Sunday’s 3-0 FA Cup win against Fulham will have reinvigorated Pochettino’s side, but expects changes as Stoke await in Sunday’s Premier League clash.
“Tottenham were dreadful last Thursday but they found a way to bounce back against Fulham, which I thought was a dangerous tie,” Nicholas said.
“They’ve got Stoke on Sunday so I think he’ll give a few more fringe players a chance, but Gent are an average team and I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurs won 3-0 even with a few changes.”
Spurs lost 1-0 at the Ghelamco Stadium last week after Gent’ Jeremy Perbet scored just before the hour mark, despite Eric Dier’s attempts to block the striker’s close-range effort.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck will be hoping his Gent side can hold onto their 1-0 advantage and will draw on Spurs’ dismal European form at Wembley as inspiration.
Spurs lost two of their three Champions League group stage encounters against Bayer Leverkusen and Monaco earlier this season, as they were knocked out of Group E.
However, Pochettino will be counting on his Spurs side to put that right on Thursday night, as they continue to fight on three platforms in the hunt for silverware.
In other Tottenham news, this forward has been given a Spurs recall by Pochettino.