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POCHETTINO IN FOR LONG EURO HAUL; GROUP STAGE DRAW.

Byline: FROM MARTIN LIPTON in Monaco

MAURICIO POCHETTINO'S worst Europa League fears materialised as Spurs suddenly faced an unwanted 10,000-mile haul around Europe's eastern fringes.

Travel and the problems of playing Thursday and Sunday have affected Spurs' top-four bid for the last three seasons, with the demands of Europe's second competition taking its toll.

Spurs chose not to send any senior club officials to the draw in Monaco, but they will be bracing themselves for three lengthy journeys after drawing Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade and Greek rookies Asteras Tripolis.

It means the flights from London for their three away games will add up to around 5,175 miles in each direction, with the Greek side located in the middle of the Peloponnese, 200 miles from Athens. Their Theodoros Kolokotronis Stadium has a capacity of just 7,616. Besiktas were unlucky to be eliminated from the Champions League at Arsenal - and they will be Pochettino's biggest concern.

Everton, back in Europe for the first time since 2009-10, also face a journey to the east, with Roberto Martinez's men in Group H alongside Lille, Wolfsburg and Krasnodar, almost 2,000 miles from Merseyside in southern Russia.

Former Toffees striker Graeme Sharp, an ambassador for the club who attended the draw, said: "We knew it was going to be tough. When the first two came out and it was Lille and Wolfsburg that wasn't bad for us travel-wise. But the Russia team is a hard one for us. It's a long, long flight."

de GROUP C: Tottenham Besiktas Partizan Belgrade Asteras GROUP D: Celtic Red Bull Salzburg Dinamo Zagreb AstraGROUP H rg

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2014
Words:269
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