Tottenham Hotspur manager
Villas-Boas' career took off two years ago when won the competition with Porto to cap a sensational season that saw him win four trophies and replace Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea.
Although that move turned sour, the 34-year-old is still regarded as one of the most promising coaches in
The competition is regarded in
"The profile of the competition is raised in other countries, but not England. I don't understand it," Villas-Boas told a press conference in
"I'm also not in a position to criticise others managers' approach to the competition.
"I respect the competition. I certainly think it is viewed as a punishment in
"We have lost the Cup Winners' Cup, which I did not think was a good decision. But it was taken to enrich the Europa League."
One reason why Villas-Boas has been taken aback by the lack of respect from the competition within England is because of the long list of luminaries who have lifted the trophy in its former guise as the UEFA Cup.
Indeed one of the Tottenham's backroom staff, goalkeeping coach
"It's full of tradition, particularly in
"Ask my goalkeeping coach
"So many great players have won this competition. If you go back to (
"You could build the most sensational team of all time (out of Europa League winners)."
The last time Tottenham was in
He then took just 15 players to Spurs' final group game against Shamrock Rovers, arguing that his first-team players needed resting for the task of trying to reach the promised land of the Champions League through domestic qualification.
Villas-Boas has taken the opposite stance, fielding almost his entire first team for the unfortunate 0-0 draw against Lazio on match day one.
"For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League we have to get used to playing in these situations, both physically and mentally," he said.
"The overall objective is to get the points to progress in this competition, but there is obviously an education process that goes with that.
"There is a rotation of players that can happen in certain positions.
"But I am always to field the strongest team possible. And that can be a benefit in the learning process."
Friedel's absence means Hugo Lloris is likely to make his second start since an £8 million ($12.61 million) move from Lyon on transfer deadline day.
Emmanuel Adebayor has not travelled with the team due to a hamstring injury, but could be fit for this weekend's home game against Aston Villa.