Football

'Spurs need not fear Real'

Pochettino's side have plenty of quality too, says Eriksen

GROUP H
REAL MADRID TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

European champions Real Madrid may be bursting at the seams with talent, but Tottenham Hotspur have plenty of quality too and need not be afraid, said midfielder Christian Eriksen.

The Danish international scored the winner as Spurs beat Bournemouth 1-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday and has set his sights on another good showing against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. at the Santiago Bernabeu tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

"You need quality and belief. We have both, so I don't think we should be scared of anything," Eriksen told British media.

"I haven't won there yet, so I need to change something. Of course, it's a special stadium, a special place.

"With their history and their star-studded side, playing against Real will always be special for any footballer, so it will be a good test to see how far we've really come."

Spurs striker Fernando Llorente agreed that Real won't be superior to Mauricio Pochettino's side.

The 32-year-old, who was in the Juventus side that beat Real in the 2015 Champions League semi-finals, told Spanish daily Marca that there are few differences among the top teams in Europe, including Spurs.

Said the Spaniard: "Real have won three Champions League titles in the last four seasons and are now a great squad.

"They are a very difficult team to beat but, with Juventus, we did so in the semis a few years ago."

Juventus won 2-1 at home and drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu.

The key, he said, was to keep it tight at the back and not give away the ball easily as Real often need just one chance to punish their opponents.

He said: "We should play our very best game, especially defensively and deny them space, because Real have lethal players and that's why you have to play with great precision.

"For instance, you cannot give away possession cheaply in midfield."

The last time Spurs visited the Bernabeu in the 2010-11 season, they lost 4-0.

Two members of that Spurs team - Gareth Bale and Luka Modric - have since moved to the Spanish giants, while the London side have a new hero in Harry Kane.

ZIDANE HAILS KANE

The England striker is leading the Champions League's scoring chart with five goals, one more than Ronaldo and Sevilla's Wissam Ben Yedder.

Kane also scored six times in the EPL and these statistics are not lost on Real coach Zinedine Zidane, who called him the "complete player".

In fact, Kane's performances for Spurs have been so consistently impressive in the last few seasons that there are now rumours Real could try to poach another rising star from the London club.

Said Zidane: "I don't know what will be of Kane's future, but I can talk about the here and now.

"He's a fundamental player for Spurs. He's very good at everything, but what he does is score goals.

"He's not a static player, he always finds space and is quick. He's a complete player."

But Eriksen was keen to stress that Spurs, despite Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola's assertion, are not a one-man team.

"Of course, nobody wants to be called a one-man team," he said.

"Over the last few seasons, it's been almost the same team every season. We know one another very well.

"There are strong links between all the players and a good feeling going into training and going into the games.

"We've got something special and I hope that's what people on the outside see, and it's what the squad feel."

Spurs defender Ben Davies is a doubt after missing the Bournemouth match with illness and manager Pochettino said they were working towards getting the rest of the squad ready.

As for Real, goalkeeper Keylor Navas has returned to training after suffering a thigh injury while on international duty with Costa Rica and is in contention to play.

Meanwhile, former Spurs star Bale, defender Dani Carvajal and midfielder Mateo Kovacic continue with their recovery. - WIRE SERVICES

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