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Carefree Partizan ready for Tottenham test

"No pressure has been put on us and that is how we are going to play," said FK Partizan teenager Danilo Pantić as his side gear up to take on Tottenham Hotspur FC in Group C.

Partizan coach Marko Nikolić has overseen a perfect start to the Serbian Super League season
Partizan coach Marko Nikolić has overseen a perfect start to the Serbian Super League season ©Getty Images

FK Partizan coach Marko Nikolić is well aware that his side have "probably our hardest opponent in the group right at the start of the competition", but with wins in all five of their top-flight games this season, the Serbian outfit are ready to give Tottenham Hotspur FC a run for their money in the UEFA Europa League.

"This is an important match for us, the first one in the group and against tough opponents," said 17-year-old midfielder Danilo Pantić. "No pressure has been put on us and that is how we are going to play. I can promise that everyone will give their all."

Partizan will be without suspended striker Petar Škuletić and have a couple of other key players ruled out through injury, but Nikolić is not looking for any excuses. "We don't want to be spectators in this competition," he said. "We will try to get a good result and I have complete faith in my team.

"This will be a good opportunity for the younger players to make their names in an international competition. We do not have any clear aims or promises to make, but without doubt we will try to win every match."

The strength of their Group C rivals is daunting but not terrifying. "They are very good at keeping possession, are well-organised and play some direct football," Nikolić noted. "We expect good attacking play and calm defending from them." As to what Spurs can expect of Partizan, Nikolić added: "We have our own style and we will play accordingly tomorrow."

Tottenham, who have taken seven points from their first four Premier League encounters, have sought the inside track on the Belgrade side from two sources: Montenegro coach Branko Brnović and the north Londoners' Swiss-born Serbian Under-21 international Miloš Veljković.

"I have a lot of information because Branko Brnović was my team-mate at Espanyol," said manager Mauricio Pochettino, who announced that Emmanuel Adebayor, Younès Kaboul, Mousa Dembélé, Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose have remained in England for "different reasons". "He was a player here for Partizan [from 1991 to 1994] and now he is coaching Montenegro. I know the history of Partizan and we expect a big crowd and strong support for them."

Benjamin Stambouli in action on Saturday
Benjamin Stambouli in action on Saturday©AFP/Getty Images

The fixture could herald a first Tottenham start for Benjamin Stambouli. The defender made his debut as a substitute in the 2-2 weekend draw at Sunderland AFC. "Partizan are a very good team," said the centre-back, a late-August signing from Montpellier Hérault SC in his native France. "I know they feel very confident because of the Serbian championship and that it will not be easy, but we are ready and expect a victory."