Christian Eriksen insists Spurs are not a one-man team after Pep Guardiola’s ‘Harry Kane team’ comment
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Dane discusses quality at the club, how the players never believed in the Wembley curse and looks ahead to Real Madrid
Christian Eriksen feels Tottenham Hotspur’s triumph over AFC Bournemouth shows they are not reliant on Harry Kane’s goalscoring prowess.
On Friday, Mauricio Pochettino voiced his displeasure at Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s recent description of Spurs as the “Harry Kane team”, stating the comment was “disrespectful” and “sad”.
The very next day, Kane was unable to score against Bournemouth at Wembley – yet Eriksen’s 47th-minute strike ensured the home side grabbed a 1-0 victory.
It was the Dane’s third goal of the season for the Lilywhites, and he believes it would be a mistake for the club’s rivals to overstate Kane’s importance and underestimate everyone else.
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“I think so, definitely,” said Eriksen. “Of course nobody wants to be called a one-man team, if it’s meant seriously. I don’t know if it was but, if it was, it’s a team performance and I think, like the manager said, if you have respect you probably don’t say it. But maybe it was a joke.
“We’re a team, of course. When Harry doesn’t score we have a strong enough team to score, if it’s me, Dele [Alli], Sonny (Heung-Min Son), Tripps (Kieran Trippier) or [Moussa] Sissoko. It could be anyone, whoever gets the chance and is good enough to finish. This time the ball fell for me but of course it’s a team performance.
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“If Harry doesn’t score somebody else must do it. Harry, with all the chances he gets, has the biggest chance of scoring and, with how good he is, he will score goals, but we all have to do that.”
Eriksen’s second-half finish gave Spurs their first league win at Wembley, following a home defeat against Chelsea and then draws against Burnley and Swansea City under the arch.
The Lilywhites’ form at the national stadium has been a cause for concern in the past – they had only won one out of nine matches there at the start of this season, and talk of a ‘curse’ had lingered.
However, Tottenham have now won three of their last four matches at Wembley in all competitions, with Saturday’s success following cup victories over Borussia Dortmund and Barnsley – and Eriksen is adamant the squad was never worried.
“It’s a very good feeling to win, but I don’t think we’ve had any involvement in the so-called Wembley thing from the outside,” said Eriksen.
“We tried our best in every game and we’ve been unlucky and haven’t really had the best games at Wembley before. Even this one [against Bournemouth] wasn’t the best game, but we won. We were a bit more clinical.
“Of course it’s something we can build on but, with the ‘Wembley curse’, you need to find something else to write about.”
Tottenham are now gearing up for a high-profile meeting with the reigning European champions on Tuesday night, as they take on Real Madrid at the Bernabeu – and Eriksen feels the Lilywhites have earned their place on the big stage.
“Definitely, I think we’ve shown it in the Premier League,” he said. “Take away some of the games in the Champions League last season, when we weren’t good enough, and overall, with the consistency we’ve shown in the Premier League over the last two seasons, we’ve definitely proved that we’re 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.
“I haven’t won there yet so I need to change something! But 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.
“You need to have quality and belief, and I think we have both, so I don’t think we should be scared of anything there.
“Over the last few seasons we’ve had 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. It’s what the squad feels.”
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