Harry Kane and Dele Alli delighted to help Tottenham Hotspur secure statement victory over Real Madrid
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
England internationals feel Spurs can go all the way in the Champions League this season and produce more magical nights on a consistent basis
Harry Kane feels Tottenham Hotspur have sent a clear statement across Europe by overcoming Real Madrid and should now believe they can go all the way and win the Champions League.
Two goals from Dele Alli were followed by a Christian Eriksen strike as Spurs beat the continental title-holders 3-1 at Wembley last night and secured their place in the last 16 with two Group H matches still to play.
“We’ve shown everyone that we’re a very good team, we’re hard to beat, we’re going to have good chances, we’re going to score goals,” said Kane. “Everyone watching that will maybe not want to play us.
“This will give us a lot of confidence and belief and we’ve just got to build on it. It’s a fantastic night but we know we’re capable of that. It’s good to prove to everyone that we can do it on the big stage.
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“Can we go all the way? Why not? We’re not going to get too ahead of ourselves but we’ve got to believe. Four games in we’ve qualified and we’ve got a good chance of finishing top.
“I think everyone doubted us at the start of the group stage but for us, of course you’ve got to believe.
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“But there’s a long way to go. In the Champions League, no matter who comes first or second in the group, you’re going to get a tough draw in the next round.
“There are a lot of teams that can go on to win it. We’ve had a fantastic campaign so far but sometimes it can change around quick so we can’t get too ahead of ourselves.
“Of course Madrid still look like they’re going to qualify and you’ve got all the big teams – Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich. It’s not something we can think about yet. We’ve just got to see how it goes, see if we can finish top and go from there.”
Spurs failed to qualify from a seemingly easier group last year, finishing below Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen, with their only victories coming against CSKA Moscow.
Many supporters would have feared a repeat when the Lilywhites were placed alongside not only Real Madrid but Borussia Dortmund this time, plus Cypriot champions Apoel Nicosia.
Nonetheless, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have banked 10 points from their four European matches so far, beating all three of their rivals while also securing a 1-1 draw away against Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Asked to put his finger on Spurs’ dramatic improvement in the Champions League, Kane said: “I think it’s belief, maybe a bit of experience as well. We played in it last year and maybe got caught out on the counter-attack a few times, pushing too many forward.
“I think without the ball we’re better this year, dropping into good positions, making it hard for them, and then on the counter-attack really exploiting that. We won 3-1 last night but there were chances out there to maybe even score a few more.
“That’s what we’ve got to keep doing. In the Champions League you can’t always attack, attack, attack. Sometimes you have to defend in a good shape as well, and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“Even in the Premier League it will give us big belief that we can go on and do good things. [It will help] against the bigger teams, especially away from home. Getting a draw at the Bernabeu was good and we’ve got to start doing that in the Premier League against the top-six sides.
“Of course winning the game against Liverpool helps. Man United was obviously disappointing for us, but we’ve got to build on this, build on this belief. It shows we can beat anyone on any day so it’s just about getting that consistency.”
While Kane shook off a hamstring strain to face Madrid – and reported no ill effects – Alli made his return to Europe after serving a three-match ban which ruled him out of Spurs’ opening three group matches.
The 21-year-old admits he found that difficult but made up for lost time last night by scoring the first two goals and playing a key role in the third.
“I was happy the team was playing well but any player would tell you it’s difficult to be on the sidelines watching,” he said.
“You want to be involved and help the team fight - but it makes it a little bit easier that they’re putting in such good performances, and I thought it would be difficult to get back into the side.
“I’m happy and thankful the manager gave me a chance, and happy I could repay him with the two goals.
“I’m always hungry for every game, against anyone, but the draw in Madrid gave us a lot of confidence coming into this game. When we got that result, we had a lot of chances and we knew if we stayed solid at the back there would be a lot of space one v one.
“As players we’re confident in ourselves and we know how good we are as a team. Nights like that show we are a great side and it’s just about making it consistent now.
“There’s no hiding the fact Real Madrid are one of best in the world and it was a solid performance by us. Hopefully we can keep performing like that.”
The only blow for Spurs was the loss of Toby Alderweireld, who limped off in the first half with a hamstring injury.
“It doesn’t feel very good,” said the Belgian defender after the match. “We’ll have to see in the next couple of days how it feels.
“Something happened, there’s no chance I could have played on. In the next couple of days, I’ll have a scan and we’ll take it from there.”
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