Tottenham players agree: We’ll take anyone except Barcelona!

Spurs stars agree that a quarter-final draw against the Catalan giants could spell the end of their Champions League adventure

AS THE modern-day fan will know, football managers and players seem to have an ever-decreasing vocabulary to draw on as they react to their last match, or look ahead to the next.

We are forever hearing that ‘at the end of the day, it’s one game at a time and there’s a long way to go. It’s a marathon, not a sprint’.

Stock phrases and clich�s are repeated all the time, but one word is rarely heard – fear.

No-one ever seems to be afraid of anyone. The cup minnows always fancy their chances against the top-flight giants. After all, ‘at the end of the day, there’s 11 players on one side, and 11 on the other’.

We very rarely see a footballing figure backing away from a challenge, and admitting that a certain opponent is on a different level – except when that opponent is Barcelona, it seems.

Until now, Spurs have stuck to the old familiar line – that on their day they can beat anyone.

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But, ahead of today’s draw for the Champions League quarter-finals, Lilywhites stars have been queuing up to concede that they would prefer to avoid a meeting with the Catalans in the last eight.

“I hope we will play against, well, I won’t say a ‘small team’, but I don’t think we want to play against Barcelona,” said William Gallas.

And Heurelho Gomes added: “We will be happy to face anyone in the quarter-finals, anyone at all – except Barcelona!”

Peter Crouch insisted that Spurs are a match for anyone, but admitted: “Without a doubt, playing Barcelona would be difficult – for me they’re the team to beat.”

And manager Harry Redknapp could barely contain his admiration for Pep Guardiola’s side as he reflected on the Spaniards’ 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Nou Camp last week.

“I thought it was an amazing performance from them to beat a team who are probably the best passing outfit in the Premier League. To make them look so ordinary was amazing,” he said.

“Arsenal didn’t have a single shot on goal, to limit them to that is incredible. Beating Barcelona would be difficult.

“They are an amazing team but who knows. We are in the last eight and we have done well to get where we are, and we want to stay in this competition and go as far as we can.”