Sports

NO HARD FEELINGS

ROUND OF 32, FIRST LEG

DNIPRO v TOTTENHAM

(Tomorrow, 1.55am, SingTel mio TV Ch 111)

Juande Ramos has no problem shaking hands with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy when he welcomes his former employers to current club Dnipro tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

The Spaniard lasted just under a year as Spurs boss between 2007 and 2008, sacked with the club bottom of the English Premier League after taking just two points from their opening eight leagues games.

Levy had rubber-stamped the sale of several members of Ramos' first-team squad before the transfer deadline and, with Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane sold to rivals Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, Ramos was left with a weakened squad.

No like-for-like replacements were signed and, following a poor start, Ramos was dismissed just eight months after delivering the League Cup - Tottenham's first trophy since 1999 and their last to date.

After adding spells at Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow to his credentials, Ramos is now at the helm of Ukrainian Premier League outfit Dnipro.

They welcome Spurs for the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, with Ramos willing to be civil to Levy - even if he still hints that he has not forgotten what happened.

Said Ramos: "Of course, I would shake hands - not only with him, but I have good relations with all of the managerial staff of Tottenham.

"I'm sure that all chairmen and the leaders of teams do what they have to do to take care of their teams.

"He has done a lot, he was able to sell Berbatov for £35 million ($74m) and Robbie Keane for £17m and some other players, he has done a lot in ruling the team."

Ramos cites the 2008 extra-time League Cup final success over Chelsea as his favourite memory of his time at White Hart Lane and believes current Spurs manager Tim Sherwood has a talented crop of players to chose from when they meet at the Dnipro Arena.

He said: "I'm really happy that I helped and was of assistance for Tottenham to win their last trophy.

"The best memory of Tottenham was of course the trophy we won after a long period, it was really nice to win it.

"Tomorrow, Tottenham will have 11 players on the pitch and seven on the bench and all of those players have high ability and the team are very serious.

"I have to emphasise that the budgets are really different, in Tottenham and in Dnipro.

"In Tottenham it is three or four times larger and they can afford buying such players as Roberto Soldado - so the budget of Tottenham is £30-£40 million for a player."

Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka is likely to start in what would be his first competitive match since a move to Liverpool broke down last month.

The Ukraine international is now keen for the clash with Tottenham not to become an audition piece for a summer move to England as he looks to bring success to his current club.

"Everything that happened is in the past," Konoplyanka said.

CONCENTRATE

"There is a good saying, 'everything is for the best' - all we have to do is concentrate on the game for tomorrow, that is all.

"It doesn't influence my game tomorrow and, if the coach finds it possible to put me in the team, I will do all I can - all I have to think about is that game.

"It is a good chance for any player to play against a team like that. It is a better motivation for us to play tomorrow and do our best." - PA Sport.