Initial Europa Conference League Blow for much changed Spurs side in Portugal

  • Nuno’s first defeat as Spurs manager
  • Pacos’s Lucas Silva clinches the one and only goal
  • Spurs have the opportunity to turn it around in North London next Thursday

Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Portugal last night, on the 19th of August, to kick off their inaugural Europa Conference League campaign in the first-leg tie against Pacos de Ferreira.

The team that head coach Nuno Espirito Santo fielded was academy-heavy following the stunning victory over the Premier League champions last weekend. Nuno made 11 changes to the Starting XI, and gave full debuts to his new summer signings. Goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini started between the sticks, Cristian Romero at the back, and silver Olympic medalist Bryan Gil on the wing.

Despite the summer stars taking to the field, Lucas Silva’s devastating strike on the stroke of half-time provided the Portuguese home side with the overall victory.

A Spurs debut for many of the starting XI

Gollini, Romero and Gil were all named in Euros 2020 and/ Olympic squads this summer and therefore training sessions with their new club have not been as plentiful as they may otherwise have been. They are new signings at a club with a new manager. It will take time for them, and the entire squad, to wholly adapt to the new style of play. If the win against City is anything to go by, ‘Nuno ball’ is going to be an attractive style of play that will bring joy to North London.

Additionally, Nuno chose to give some of the academy players a run out in Portugal, providing them with match-day experience which is critical for their own development. 

Although this is Nuno’s first defeat as Spurs manager, it’s not one that will overly concern the fans. It gave Tottenham fans the opportunity to catch a glimpse of their new boy, Bryan Gil, who impressed in the first half. Arriving from Sevilla in the Summer, Gil almost created the opening goal of the game with an eye-catching run down the left wing and pass into the path of Ryan Sessegnon.

Lucas Silva’s goal

Silva broke the line of the Spurs defence and faced Gollini one on one. The forward kept his cool and slotted the ball low on the right-hand side of the advancing Spurs keeper. Tottenham can be somewhat criticised for their response in the second half, as they failed to register a single shot on target.

However, the return leg will take place next week under the lights in the fabulous Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 26th August. Nuno knows what they need to do to turn the scoreline around and I’m sure his chosen XI  for Spurs v Pacos will reflect those needs.

Tottenham Hotspur are facing Wolves on Sunday away at Molineux before then. Nuno will be looking to build on their opening success on familiar turf. Spurs then welcome Watford to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as their next Premier League home fixture of the current campaign.

Tottenham v Pacos starting XI












Lo Celso




Nuno’s thoughts on the match

“Not good, not good. First half we lost too many passes – and the goal came from that – we were imbalanced. Nobody likes to lose a game or not play good. The feel-good factor disappears. This is football. It is up and down but now you realise that this is the situation, they have to bounce back.”

Spurs will relish the opportunity to turn the fixture around at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. European football in front of the home fans under the lights – we’re excited about this one!