Manager Andre Villas-Boas has reversed predecessor Harry Redknapp’s ban on Christmas parties at Tottenham, insisting he is happy for the squad to have “two or three” this winter.
Redknapp prevented his players from having a party three years ago after his team lost to Wolves just four days after Robbie Keane had organised a secret and raucous trip to Dublin.
Redknapp’s new team QPR will also not have a Christmas party this month, but Villas-Boas is happy for his players to let their hair down.
“We will try to have two or three (parties),” Villas-Boas said. “It’s normal. It’s part of our group spirit.
“I don’t think it will affect performances. We will try to gather the group, to have dinner together and go on from there.”
Villas-Boas has looked increasingly relaxed in recent weeks with his team playing some of their best football of the season.
The Londoners earned their third straight Barclays Premier League win on Saturday when they defeated Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage.
The win moved Spurs up to fourth in the table – behind Chelsea on goal difference – and tomorrow they have a very good chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Having won the competition with Porto in 2010, Villas-Boas is determined to make sure Spurs progress by avoiding defeat against Panathinaikos.
UEFA are considering scrapping the competition and replacing it with an enlarged Champions League, but the Portuguese thinks that would be a crazy idea.
“It’s difficult for me (to accept),” Villas-Boas said. “We lost the Cup Winners’ Cup and you miss it.
“Most clubs are in a difficult financial situation. Increasing the Champions League means you have to remove the name ’Champions’ out of it as it would not make any sense.
“I think it would be an unpopular decision, certainly for me it would be a disappointment.”
Spurs will be confident of overcoming Panathinaikos tomorrow.
The Greek side snatched a lucky draw in the reverse fixture two months ago and their current poor form means they sit 16 points adrift of domestic league leaders Olympiacos.
Villas-Boas intends to rotate his team for the final Group J clash, with number one Hugo Lloris expected to make way for Brad Friedel, who has had to sit out the last five games despite being first choice at the start of the season.
Villas-Boas rebuffed an attempt by Blackburn to sign Friedel as a player/coach after Lloris assumed the number one spot at Spurs, and made it clear today that he wants to hang on to the American for the rest of the season.
“Brad has been excellent, I spoke to him and he has been such an important player for us,” Villas-Boas said. “Rotation has not been because of performances.
“Both goalkeepers’ performances have been excellent. It gives me the ability at any time to throw a different keeper into the game.
“I don’t know anything about (Blackburn’s bid). We are trying to hold onto our best assets and Brad is certainly one of them.”
The game has come too soon for long-term injury victims Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but they could return for next weekend’s game against Swansea.
“They have both been out for some time but we have to be sensible with the situation,” the former Chelsea boss added. “Parker is an amazing player and it is a big boost for us.”
Gareth Bale, who suffered a hamstring injury at Fulham, is out of Sunday’s game at Everton but should return for the match against the Swans.