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Saturday 19 April 2014

Eriksen: We must take our chances

Christian Eriksen, left, scored a dazzling free-kick against West Brom on Boxing Day

Christian Eriksen has warned that Tottenham's poor home form will continue unless they become more clinical in front of goal.

Tottenham dropped to eighth in the Barclays Premier League on Boxing Day as Tim Sherwood's first game as permanent head coach ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw against West Brom.

A smattering of boos rang out at the final whistle, and having not witnessed a home win in the league since October 27, it is easy to understand why a number of Tottenham fans were unhappy.

By this time last season Tottenham had scored 14 goals in five home victories. This year they have managed three wins and have found the net just eight times. Two of those goals came from free-kicks while another two came from the penalty spot.

Spurs used to build their season around their home form, but the north Londoners have not been at their best at White Hart Lane this season and Eriksen knows it.

"The home games are tough and we make them tougher for ourselves as well because we don't score," the Tottenham midfielder told Spurs TV.

"But we just have to keep working and we will get our chances, I think.

"We just have to open the game up and make our goals. Against West Brom we had the chances to score goals. If we score it will be a much easier game to win."

Eriksen accepts that away teams do not go all-out attack at White Hart Lane, but Spurs will have to find a way of getting around that problem if they are to become a permanent member of the Barclays Premier League's elite.

The fact that Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been able to do that over the last decade shows why they have spent so long at the top.

Still, with Sherwood in charge, the chances of Spurs breaking down defensive-minded opposition may improve.

Sherwood makes no apologies about his commitment to playing attacking football and there were times on Boxing Day, and more so at Southampton last weekend, when watching Tottenham play was an enjoyable experience.

Sherwood is conscious that he is now managing a club whose icons include Glenn Hoddle, Ossie Ardiles and Paul Gascoigne.

That does not mean he is all for kamikaze football, however. If Spurs retain the ball better, then they will not be as vulnerable to attack as they were against the Baggies, Sherwood argues.

"I expect the fans want (attacking football) as they have been brought up on that," Sherwood said.

"It's the way I see the game being played. I want to see bodies being thrown forward.

"At the moment it's not exactly how I want it. I think we need to win the ball higher up the field. The West Brom game turned into a little bit of a basketball match at times.

"We want to win that ball up high as we possibly can so we can give the supporters wave after wave of attack."

Etienne Capoue - a France international in the mould of the famed Claude Makelele - has been kicking his heels ever since Sherwood took over.

The Englishman has preferred to use the likes of Mousa Dembele, Lewis Holtby and Eriksen in the centre, and Sherwood's response to those who say a team needs a holding midfielder is simple.

He said: "We have enough defensive-minded players on the field.

"When you are at home, if you pass the ball well enough, your passing is good and your decision making is good then you win the game."

Stoke's weaknesses were exposed against Newcastle on Boxing Day when they were crushed 5-1 after having two men sent off.

Sherwood is unsure how the Potters will respond when they come to White Hart Lane on Sunday though.

"It could be a dent in confidence but on the other hand it could spur them on," Sherwood said.

"But I can't see them coming here and being open to get beat like that again.

"We expect them to play pretty much the same (as West Brom did) so hopefully we can show a little bit more quality in and around the final third and open them up."

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