Tottenham draw Besiktas in Europa League group

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Tottenham were given a fairly comfortable draw in the Europa League group phase. The north London club face Turkish side Besiktas, Serbia's Partizan Belgrade and Greek side Asteras Triplois for a place in the knock out stages.

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Past experience

Besiktas will be fairly familiar with this area of London, having lost 1-0 on aggregate to Spurs rivals Arsenal, and having lost to the Lilywhites in 2006's UEFA Cup. The English team have never played Partizan or Asteras.

Mauricio Pochettino will be grateful for draw in terms of travel, with trips to southern Europe much more enjoyable than the flights to Georgia, Russia, and the North Pole in seasons past.

Those trips undoubtedly took their toll as Tottenham struggled in the league games that followed the Thursday night matches.

Champions League place

With a Champions League place now on offer to the winners of the Europa League, and given the strength in depth Pochettino has at his disposal, Spurs will be expected to dominate the group and secure qualification quickly.

Their biggest rivals will surely be Besiktas, who finished third in the Super Lig to qualify for the Champions League, beating Feyenoord 5-2 on aggregate before succumbing to the Gunners.

Partizan finished runners up in Serbia and were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers by Ludogorets Razgrad, while Asteras finished fifth in Greece and beat RoPS of Finland, Mainz from Germany, and Maccabi Tel Aviv to make the group stages.

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