Modric: Spurs can end 17 years of hurt by winning at Old Trafford
As Spurs prepare to travel to Old Trafford, Luka Modric admits he is all too aware of Tottenham’s 17-year failure to overcome the top flight’s big guns away from home.
LUKA Modric believes that the Premier League is more important than the Champions League for Spurs as they prepare to face Manchester United and Inter Milan in the next five days.
Spurs travel to Old Trafford on Saturday and host Inter Milan at White Hart Lane on Tuesday as the Lilywhites prepare for both the toughest and most glamorous week of their season so far.
“I think the Premier League is important for us if we want to finish in the top four and play in the Champions League again next year,” said the 25-year-old, who captained Tottenham for the first time against Everton.
“From my point of view I think maybe it’s even more important, because we want to be a Champions League club every season, and you can only achieve that if you finish in the top four or the top three. Because of that we need to be very focused on the Premier League, not just on the Champions League.
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“It is really difficult balancing the competitions but we need to stick with it and try to recover as quickly as
possible for the next game.
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“A lot of big clubs are playing Champions League and then league games, and I think we’ve shown in the last couple of games that it’s not a problem for us. After Twente we beat Villa, and then we beat Fulham.
“I think Everton played well on Saturday and at the end, after Inter Milan as well, maybe a point is good. I think we deserved to win, but it’s important that we didn’t lose a close game – that’s good.”
Tottenham travel to Manchester United this weekend sitting just two places and two points behind Alex Ferguson’s side.
But, as the Lilywhites prepare to face one of their greatest foes, they will also resume battle with an embarrassing record on Saturday.
Spurs have not won a league match away against United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool for 17 years, since August 1993 – a run which now stretches to an incredible 67 matches.
Modric – who scored the second goal when Tottenham took a 2-0 lead into half-time at Old Trafford in April 2009 before losing 5-2 – admits that he is well aware of the statistic.
“Yes it’s true. We’ve started to beat those teams at home but it’s true that we need to start sometimes beating them away from home,” he said.
“But it’s not easy. Man United and all those clubs, they’re great clubs and it’s not easy to go there and win. But we are full of confidence at the moment and why not beat them on Saturday after a long time?
“Man United are good – they maybe have some problems at the moment – but I think we can play with them and why not beat them on Saturday? It will be a great game for us and we can’t wait to play it, and hopefully we will do it well.
“We’ve come close, and someone also told me that before I came we had some good games there but were always unlucky. Two seasons ago we were 2-0 up at half-time and then that penalty killed us. Who knows, if the referee hadn’t whistled, we may have gone on to win that game.
“But we don’t want to look back any more, we want to look forward and try to not repeat the mistakes that we have made against them already. We will try to play our game and who knows, maybe we can beat them.
“We don’t have any issue playing there. Some teams probably go there and think ‘oh we can’t beat them’ but we don’t think that way.
“We’re thinking positive, we’re thinking that we can play with them and we can beat them. If you are not thinking positive it’s hard to do something. We need to think positive and to do our best.
“We’re in good form at the moment, we’re playing well and we’re full of confidence, and a lot of players are really on fire, especially Gareth [Bale]. Why not expect a good result at Old Trafford?”
Spurs return from Manchester to host Inter Milan and, having been substituted after just 10 minutes at the San Siro last week, Modric is raring to go in the rematch.
“I was disappointed but the gaffer had to take off someone and he decided to take me off. I was disappointed but that’s it,” said the 25-year-old.
“It’s always a big motivation for every player when you’re playing against the best teams in the world, and Inter is one of the best.
“It will be a great game for us and we showed in the second half without one player that we can play with them, and I hope with our great fans that we can beat them at home.”