Exclusive: Tromso legend Ole Martin Arst on Spurs tie

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Ex-Norwegian international Ole Martin Arst has spoken to GiveMeSport about what Spurs fans can expect from their Europa League opponents on Thursday and in the return leg. As Tromso's all-time second highest goalscorer in his three spells at the club, as well as being a Spurs fan, Ole Martin Arst knows as well as anyone what Tottenham have in store in their Europa League games.

Speaking about how Tromso's domestic form, he said: "Tromso haven't been doing well at all. They're fighting relegation this season for the first time in many years after spending the past few years fighting for medals.

"They sold a lot of their best players, so it's no surprise that they're struggling."

Because of Tromso's domestic troubles, Arst expects them to focus on their domestic competition and defend deep:

"Tromso have signalled that they won't be giving the Europa League a high priority because they're fighting against relegation. They have a very small squad with only 13 or 14 good players.

"Their best players need to be fit for the weekend, when they have an important game against another team fighting relegation".

When asked about the kind of tactics Tromso are likely to employ, he was sure they would take a pragmatic approach to the game at White Hart Lane.

"Tromso have always played with a good balance," he explained. "They usually have two central midfielders that play in front of the defence, and in the past few years they've been very solid.

"They don't take many chances by committing people forward, and definitely not in European away games.

"They will play with one striker, and will play a 4-2-3-1 that will be more like a 4-5-1 in away games. They will come to White Hart Lane and hope to get some chances from set pieces and maybe one or two counter-attacks.

"Because of their domestic form, they are under no pressure to do well in the Europa League. They only qualified through the Fair Play league, and had expected to be knocked out after losing on aggregate to Besiktas, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport disqualified them.

"Tromso have some experience in European competitions from the past few years, such as 2009 and this year."

Arst said that the fans were delighted to be drawn against a club as big as Tottenham, and that they can't wait for the return leg:

"There will be hundreds of Tromso fans leaving for London. Everybody said before the draw that Spurs were the team that they wanted, so when they got them people were celebrating.

"For clubs like Tromso, we wanted one big team and two smaller teams and that's exactly what we got so it's a perfect draw for us.

"I myself am a Spurs fan, and I know there are lots of guys like me here."

On the Tromso supporters, Arst reassured Spurs fans that the Tromso supporters won't cause any trouble.

He said: "There won't be lots of crazy fans coming over to London - they love English football too much!

"The biggest game in the club's history was when Chelsea came to Tromso. I was lucky enough to play [and score] in that game, and we won 3-2. The people of Tromso will be happy even if they don't qualify, but would love a result against Tottenham. Even a good performance would fill the team with confidence.

Arst says the conditions for the return leg might be tricky for Spurs, but that Spurs fans should definitely make the trip:

"It will be a full house. It's not a big ground [at 6000 people], but when it's full it's a great atmosphere.

"The team will find it tough for sure. It will be in the end of November so I can guarantee there will be snow, but there won't be problems with the playing conditions because of the undersoil heating and the artificial pitch.

"I really hope the Tottenham supporters make the trip to the North of Norway because it will be something special. They could even see the Northern Lights".

Ole Martin Arst is a pundit for Norwegian television station TV2. He has 22 caps for Norway, as well as 180 appearances for Tromso in three spells with the club. He is currently Tromso's second highest goalscorer with 95 goals.

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