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The Icelandic midfielder believes striking the first blow could force the Slovenian side to attack, opening up gaps in defence for Andre Villas-Boas' men to exploit

Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson believes scoring early will be vital for his side when they take on Maribor in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The 23-year-old feels breaking the deadlock with plenty of time left to play could force the Slovenian champions to attack, meaning Spurs will be able to find space to play in.

And, while Maribor impressed in the two sides' recent 1-1 draw, Sigurdsson thinks home advantage will see Andre Villas-Boas' men collect all three points this time around.

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"It would be ideal if we get an early goal," he told the club's official website.

"That means Maribor can't just sit there and defend and it would open the game up. That would also get the crowd right behind us and it will be a great atmosphere. That's important for us."

Sigurdsson netted the equaliser in the clubs' last encounter but with Spurs drawing their three Europa League games so far, the midfielder says a win is important at White Hart Lane.

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We've drawn all three games so far and the group is tight with Lazio top on five points, Maribor on four, we're on three and Panathinaikos on two," he added.


"They were quite hard to beat in Slovenia and it was important for us not to lose that game.



“They defended deep with a number of players behind the ball and were quite difficult to break down. It's a big pitch at White Hart Lane so hopefully we'll get wide, get some crosses in and break them down this time.

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The Iceland international also insisted the home crowd could be crucial if his side are to get a much-needed victory.

He said: "It's still in our hands and we now have the advantage of playing at home. Hopefully we'll use that advantage and take the three points. We want to progress to the group stage, so it's important for us."
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