Spurs don't fear United - Dembele
Published 30/12/2013 | 15:22
Mousa Dembele insists Tottenham should not be scared when they travel to Manchester United on New Year's Day.
The initial scepticism that followed Tim Sherwood's appointment as manager has started to wane slightly.
Sherwood made it seven points out of a possible nine in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday when he led Spurs to a comfortable 3-0 win over Stoke.
Next up for the new Spurs boss is a difficult trip to Old Trafford to face a United team that are on the up under David Moyes.
The Red Devils are on a six-match winning streak, but Dembele remembers how Spurs defied the odds to claim a historic win at Old Trafford last season and the Belgian sees no reason why Tottenham cannot do the same again this term.
"I am not scared to go there," the midfielder said. "They are a top team. We have a lot of respect for them of course, but we have a very good team too.
"We can't have too much respect. We have to play our own game. We can do something there, why not?
"I have good memories of playing there. We had a good game there with Fulham and last year we won.
"The teams are different but I am not scared to play there and surprise everyone.
"The Stoke game was an important one for us. To win at home gives us confidence again. We can take confidence from this game to the next one. We showed we are a good team."
Dembele is one of the players that has benefited most from Sherwood's arrival at White Hart Lane.
Dembele, who has played three out of the four games in which Sherwood has been in the dugout, has been allowed to get forward more thanks to the new manager's desire to play attacking football.
Dembele has been impressed with how the new manager has adapted.
It has been suggested that Sherwood's attacking philosophy will be his undoing at United, but Dembele denies that the defensive side of the team has been overlooked.
"For us it's not a long time he has been with us, but he has made some adjustments," Dembele said.
"He has talked to us a lot. He gives us confidence as well to play our own game, to try to attack.
"We are playing in an attacking way, but we make sure as well that we are organised so that is important.
"You can't attack all the time. He explained that and he trains us to be organised too."
Dembele's new-found freedom has afforded him more opportunities to get into the final third and he took full advantage of that on Sunday, scoring with a fine left-footed strike to make it 2-0 following Roberto Soldado's first-half penalty.
Remarkably, for a man who started his career as a striker, it was Dembele's first Barclays Premier League goal since his Spurs debut against Norwich on 1 September 2012.
And the former Fulham player, who has scored two more goals in the Europa League for Spurs, wants to find the net more often.
"I was very happy to score. It was a long time coming," Dembele said.
"Everybody was saying that I don't score too much so for me of course that is my aim.
"That is the thing I need to make better so I was very happy to score again. Now I want to score more."