André Villas-Boas is confident Tottenham can secure the one point required to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League but admits Gareth Bale will be missed against Panathinaikos on Thursday night.

Spurs lead the Greek side by two points in Group J, meaning a draw will be enough for them to advance as runners-up, although a victory at White Hart Lane could see them finish top if Lazio lose against NK Maribor.

Bale sustained a hamstring injury during the 3-0 victory over Fulham last weekend and is expected to be out for two weeks. Villas-Boas will rest the goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and replace him with Brad Friedel.

"At the moment this is a decisive game. We have to win or we have to draw to go through," said the Tottenham manager. "Panathinaikos have put themselves in a great position, they've come back from the death to leave us in a game where the winner is the team that goes through.

"We've done excellently in this group phase. We have taken it very seriously. We are very proud in how we approach the competition and we want to go through."

On Bale's absence he said: "Gareth will be missed. I have excellent players. For example, [Clint] Dempsey did well on the left after Gareth got injured. He is a different type of player. He is not an out-and-out winger but it's a position he has played before. He did extremely well."

Villas-Boas watched Paris St-Germain's victory over his former club Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday night but denied he was at the Parc des Princes in a scouting capacity. Spurs were thwarted in their attempt to sign Porto's midfielder João Moutinho in August.

The Spurs manager confirmed that Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Scott Parker should return from respective injuries for the league match with Swansea next weekend, although they will miss Sunday's game at Everton.

Villas-Boas dismissed the possibility of Parker leaving the club in January. "At the moment it is not even a consideration," he said. "It is very unfair that you put a player that was voted best player at Tottenham last year into the transfer market just like that. He's an amazing player."

Kyle Walker played in the corresponding 1-1 draw against Panathinaikos in October. The right-back believes Spurs have improved on last season and is confident of going far in the competition.

He said: "We haven't really lost anyone except Luka [Modric]. We have still got the same players. [Emmanuel] Adebayor has signed permanently. Clint and Mousa [Dembélé] have come in so we've improved. But we need to just keep doing the things the manager wants and I think everything will click together."

Villas-Boas revealed that the team could have "two or three" Christmas parties in the coming weeks. Harry Redknapp, his predecessor at Tottenham, has banned festivities at his new club Queens Park Rangers this winter.

Tottenham Hotspur probable Friedel; Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton; Huddlestone, Dembélé; Lennon, Sigurdsson, Dempsey; Defoe