Winks hoping Man City will find new Spurs stadium ‘daunting place’
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Tottenham Hotspur are gearing up for their biggest match of the season to date in the quarter-finals of the Champions League
Harry Winks was impressed with the atmosphere created in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the opening Premier League match against Crystal Palace on Wednesday and is hopeful it will be even better this week when Manchester City visit N17.
Spurs will do battle with Pep Guardiola’s men in the Champions League quarter-finals with the first leg taking place in the capital.
The Citizens, who are still going for the quadruple, are favourites to progress, but the Lilywhites are dreaming of another famous European night under the lights.
Winks said: “We are looking forward to Tuesday and it will be another amazing night. Obviously off the back of a win, it couldn’t have been any better and I hope the fans can create the same atmosphere which I am sure they will.”
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Man City faced English opposition in the last eight of the Champions League last season and were blown away in a cauldron of noise at Anfield.
Liverpool went three goals up inside 31 minutes of the first leg at home and in the end it was too much of an ask for Guardiola’s team to come back from.
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Winks watched those matches and knows the Tottenham supporters have a big role to play, but also admitted the players have to get the ball rolling first.
“From what I gathered out on the pitch, it can be quite a daunting place for the opposition and that is all credit to the fans and the sound of the stadium. If they can create the same against Manchester City, hopefully it can be a good night,” he added.
“But ultimately it is how we perform on the pitch. Of course the fans play a massive role in creating that atmosphere and helping us out, but the most important thing is how we play and how we set ourselves out.
“If we can perform how we did against Crystal Palace and press how we did, it could be a difficult night for Manchester City.”
After waiting so long to return to Tottenham, the night finally arrived on Wednesday and for Winks he was just pleased to be able to play a part.
Injury saw him miss England’s recent games and Spurs’ 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, but he recovered in time to come on in the second half of the win over Palace.
Winks added: “I was desperate to come on, but I realised I had only been training with the lads for one or two sessions, so I knew I had to be patient. The players were fantastic out there and it made it so much easier to come on 1-0 up.”
Spurs enjoyed some fantastic occasions at Wembley – notably the victory over Real Madrid – but towards the end the relationship with the national stadium soured.
Tottenham supporters were fed up of making the trip to Brent and Winks is thrilled to be back home again.
He said: “It wasn’t the most ideal situation for us playing at Wembley for the last two seasons, but we managed to get over that and play really well and get some great results there.
“Now it is time we do the same here at this stadium. It is our home now and we have moved in. It has been a long time coming, but what a fantastic place it is and credit to everyone who has worked on this stadium because it is an amazing place.”
Mauricio Pochettino’s men won’t have time to settle into their new surroundings though, they need to make it a fortress from the outset.
In addition to fighting for Champions League glory, Spurs are trying to make sure they qualify for Europe’s elite competition again next season.
As things stand they remain third, but the race is hotting up and with four of their last six league matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, they will hope to enjoy a strong start to life in their new ground.
Winks said: “It will be a difficult challenge over the next seven to eight games, but it will be an enjoyable one as well.
“This is a fantastic place to play at and it is probably what we need now to help us for the last little bit of the season; the most important part.
“We have had a fantastic boost to come and play here and we have some massive games to come here - ones we are all looking forward to - and let’s hope we can finish as strong as possible.”
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