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Q&A with Cartilage Free - Round 2

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We decided to sit down again with Bryan and ask him a few sensible and some not so sensible questions

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So the Q&A before the first leg of the Europa League tie was fun. Bryan from Cartilage Free Captain said that I had sensibly ignored his attempts at banter, so ahead of the second leg, I decided to ramp it up a bit. Let's hope Viola Nation can still be friends with the Tottenham guys after this...

Viola Nation: Both Fiorentina and Tottenham had a disappointing draw in the league after last Thursday's game. Fiorentina's result was very much 2 points dropped as they let a 1-0 lead at home slip to 1-1 against Torino. Harry Kane equalised at the very end of the game against West Ham, so is that a point gained or 2 points dropped for you?

Bryan A: Well, if you had told me a couple weeks ago that we would come out of a run of Arsenal at home, away to Liverpool, at West Ham at home with four points I'd have probably shrugged my shoulders and said, "Ok. Fine." However, that run of matches began with our best performance of the season in a Derby match and ended with a fortunate draw. So, on balance they feel like dropped points.

VN: Spurs were so dominant in the first half hour last Thursday but in the second half seemed devoid of ideas. What do you think Pochettino will do this week to try and replicate the early dominance?

BA: My guess is that he'll play better players. If the like of Paulinho and Soldado start this match I will be very surprised. I'm not sure that's the best plan in the world, but so far Poche's plans for tactical changes usually seem to be "play different dudes."

VN: You said in the last Q&A that you would rather try and qualify for the Champion's League by winning the Europa League than trying to finish 4th in the Premier League. What did Pochettino's starting line up last week tell you about his Europa League ambitions? Do you think he will go for a similar line up this week?

BA: I think the lineup said a lot more about our current fixture congestion than anything else. Honestly, the XI we put out was pretty strong, just not totally first-choice. For a home match in the Europa League, I think the lineup did mostly what was expected of it. If Spurs could have gotten out of the first leg with a 1-0 win I think everyone would have been pretty pleased. Instead we conceded a dumb goal off a set piece. Whatever. That said, if we roll with a similar lineup this week, I'll be disappointed. Yes, I know Spurs have a cup final on Sunday, but the Capital One Cup doesn't put us directly into the Champions League. The Europa League does and we should be focused on winning it.

VN: Do you think that  Soldado's goal marks the beginning of his resurgence or would you like to see him offloaded in the summer?

BA: I love Soldado. I'd hate to see him go. However, I don't think there's going to be a turnaround for him. He just doesn't fit what Spurs are trying to do under Pochettino and now, with the emergence of Harry Kane, he's probably never going to play as regularly as he'd like. So...I guess the answer is that he should probably go this summer.

VN: I was at WHL on Thursday, and there was a distinct lack of noise from the Spurs fans. Are they always that quiet? They must have printed 'bring your own atmosphere' on the away tickets...

BA: Ummm...Yeah. That's pretty much the state of White Hart Lane these days. I'm sure it was super loud while we were winning and playing well and then very quiet once Fiorentina leveled. Our crowd isn't always the best and when things go bad for Spurs they turn nasty really quickly. We like to make fun of Arsenal for playing at the Emirates Library, but WHL isn't much better. That said, our away support is consistently awesome and I expect the fans to make a good showing in Florence.

VN: On a scale of 1-10, how embarrassing is it that Tottenham have released a league cup final song called 'Hot Shot Tottenham' by Ledley & the Kings? I believe it is a remake of the Chas and Dave original!

BA: I can't definitively say how embarrassing it is because I refuse to listen to it. So....1? Is 1 super embarrassing? Or is it 10? Ten is probably most embarrassing. Let's say 10. Ledley & the Kings, however, is an awesome band name. I would buy their t-shirt.

VN: Tottenham fans will soon be arriving in Florence, home of the renaissance - a place full of fine  culture, food, drink and art. It's certainly a long way from Enfield! If the Tottenham coaches are superstitious, I assume they will tell the players to steer clear of the classic Italian dish of lasagna, as I believe it caused a problem back in 2006?

BA: First of all, that's just rude. Second, I've been to Florence. It's just ok. Probably my third favorite Italian city behind Rome and Venice. Being top three may sound like a compliment, but it's not because those are the only Italian cities I've been to. Boom! Bet you feel bad about your lasagna joke now. (Lorenzo's note: Chloe totally doesn't)

VN: Finally, in a return to seriousness, can I have your prediction for the game?

BA: I predict that Spurs will lose, probably in the most heartbreaking and exhausting way possible. That means an early Fiorentina goal, stoppage time equalizer for Spurs, followed by 30 minutes of extra time and penalties. Maybe, if we're lucky, it will go to keeper penalties. Unfortunately, Spurs are an English team, so it will probably be over after 4 penalties. Yeah. There you go. 1-1, Fiorentina through on penalties. Why? Because while the referees may hate Mourinho and Chelsea, the Universe hates Spurs.

Thanks to Bryan for doing another Q&A with us. You can also look out for my answers to his questions here. I'm sure we will have a good game between the two sides on Thursday, and let's hope the guys at Cartilage Free Captain aren't too offended by the lasagne banter!