Sport Soccer

Friday 20 July 2018

Eriksen relishing Real showdown

Christian Eriksen, right, scored the winner against Bournemouth on Saturday
Christian Eriksen, right, scored the winner against Bournemouth on Saturday

Christian Eriksen insists Tottenham have nothing to fear when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Eriksen scored the winner in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Bournemouth and now he and Spurs face perhaps the most daunting challenge in club football - a showdown with the European champions in the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Dane knows what it feels like to go up against Madrid, having played Los Blancos twice with Ajax during the Champions League group stage in 2012.

Ajax, with Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld also in their starting line-up, lost both ties 4-1 but Eriksen believes five years on, Spurs are well-equipped to do better.

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

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

"Playing against Real will always be special for any footballer with the history they have and the players there so it will be a good test, to see how far we've really come."

The match represents something of a free hit for Tottenham, who have taken maximum points from their opening two Champions League group games against Borussia Dortmund and Apoel Nicosia.

But Eriksen says Spurs, on the back of third and second-place finishes in the Premier League, have shown they can go toe-to-toe with the best.

"I think we've shown it in the Premier League," Eriksen said.

"Take away some of the games in the Champions League last season, when we weren't good enough, and overall with the consistency in the Premier League over the last two seasons, we've definitely proved that we are a team that will hopefully have a very nice and very tough game at the Bernabeu, and show how far we've come from being in the top six to the top three in the Premier League."

Eriksen's goal against Bournemouth extended a superb start to the season for the midfielder, who now has four goals in his last five matches for club and country.

He has arguably been Tottenham's best player this term, apart from the exceptional Harry Kane, and perhaps the most slighted by Pep Guardiola's assessment of Spurs as 'the Harry Kane team'.

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

"I think over the last few seasons it's been almost the same team every season. We know each other 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 feels."

Press Association

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