Huddlestone: Spurs can live with anyone at the Lane
TOTTENHAM’S epic victory over European champions Inter Milan proves that Spurs are a match for anyone at White Hart Lane, according to Tom Huddlestone.
The 23-year-old captained the Lilywhites to a historic 3-1 win over the Champions League holders on Tuesday night.
That took Harry Redknapp’s side to the top of Group A on goal difference after four of their six games, and Huddlestone feels that Spurs could be a real force to reckon with if they reach the last 16.
“At home we fancy ourselves against anybody. We went fairly attacking as well and obviously it’s paid off,” said the midfielder.
“The gaffer said before the match to get after them straight away. On the ball they’re exceptional players but as we showed towards the end of the last game against them, they’ve got their weaknesses and I think we exploited them quite a lot.
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“We’re top of the group but there’s still six points up for grabs and I think any team could still qualify, so it’s going to be difficult, but to be top of the group at this stage in our first season is special.
“The main objective to start with was to get out of the group, and if we get to the knockout stages anything could happen really.”
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Two weeks after his scintillating hat-trick at the San Siro, Gareth Bale stole the show again at the Lane, setting up two of the three goals after leaving Brazilian international Maicon in his wake time and time again.
“I’m not sure how you stop him really,” said Huddlestone. “If you drop off him too much he’s got the technique and the ability to pick somebody out with a pass, and if you get too tight, as we’ve seen in the first game and this game, he’s quicker than most people. I’m not sure, I’m glad I’m not a right-back.
“For a midfielder it’s a dream. You’ve got Gareth Bale on one side and Aaron Lennon on the other, and if you can’t get it wide you’ve got Rafael Van der Vaart just in front of you. It makes the midfield job easy with the ball.
“Benoit [Assou-Ekotto] is the perfect player to play behind Gareth as well. They’re similar really. They’re both fit, very quick players and when they’re on the ball they’re both exceptional, and I think we’ve just seen a defensive performance from Benoit which is up there with the best.”
Huddlestone admits that the victory is even sweeter after Tottenham’s miserable start to their trip to the San Siro two weeks, when the Lilywhites found themselves 4-0 down with 10 men after 35 minutes – before fighting back to salvage a 4-3 defeat.
“Two weeks ago we got off to a very bad start. This time we were making amends for that and I think throughout the 90 minutes we thoroughly deserved the win,” he said.
“I was captain out there as well, and it didn’t go to plan, but this time it couldn’t have gone better. We had a dodgy 10 to 15 minutes in the second half where they pulled one back but we still tried to play quite high and press them, and we got the third, which killed the game.”
Now Huddlestone is urging Spurs to refocus on the fight for the top four in the Premier League, and the upcoming clashes with Bolton and Sunderland over the next five days.
“In the league we’ve been a bit in and out so far,” he said. “We don’t fully feel we’ve started yet but, saying that, we’re still in a decent position.”