Tottenham Hotspur welcome Pacos de Ferreira to North London on Thursday evening needing to overturn a deficit to remain in the Europa Conference League.
A much-changed team succumbed to a 1-0 defeat in Portugal, resulting in an improved performance being required in front of their own supporters.
After recording wins over Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers without conceding a goal, it is difficult to criticise Spurs’ start to the new season.
However, with the competition representing a clear opportunity to win silverware, failing to reach the Europa Conference League group stages would cast a shadow over any progress made under Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Portuguese arrived at Spurs with the task of reclaiming a spot in the Champions League, but ending the club’s wait for silverware also features highly on his remit.
While much was made of Spurs failing to have a shot on target in the first leg, there is an argument that the end result could have been far worse with none of the players present having 90 minutes in their legs.
That will change on Thursday night, and Nuno may also take the opportunity to hand a start to Harry Kane with the England international well behind the rest of the group in terms of fitness.
Despite their fifth-placed finish in Primeira Liga last season, Pacos de Ferreira’s triumph in the first leg is not in keeping with their other results in recent weeks.
As well as losing the away leg to Northern Irish side Larne in this competition, Jorge Simao has witnessed his team succumb tamely to Boavista and Estoril.
Pacos de Ferreira will also have had over 30 hours less time to prepare for this contest with travel also having to be incorporated into their plans.
Nevertheless, while everything appears to be against them, Simao and his players know that an early goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will heap the pressure on a team who have scored just twice in 270 minutes of football.
Tottenham Hotspur Europa Conference League form:
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):
Pacos de Ferreira Europa Conference League form:
Pacos de Ferreira form (all competitions):
We say: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Pacos de Ferreira (Spurs to win 3-2 on aggregate)
Spurs will surely play more of their senior players in this contest compared to the first leg, and you have to think that it will make all the difference.
While the visitors deserve respect, an early Spurs goal should change the course of this tie.