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Spurs mature in Champions League

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Phil McNulty | 06:52 UK time, Thursday, 25 November 2010

White Hart Lane

Xavier Hochstrasser was a dim and distant memory as Tottenham's impressive progress in the Champions League took them into the last 16 with time to spare.

Remember the name? Back in August's high summer, Hochstrasser put Young Boys of Berne three up inside 30 minutes in a qualifier that threatened to make a mockery of Spurs' hopes of making an impact on Europe's biggest stage after a 49-year absence.

Spurs recovered to lose 3-2 in what manager Harry Redknapp labelled "a great defeat" - and so it proved as they regrouped over two legs to escape an ignominious early exit and reach the group phase.

Events in Switzerland seemed an age away as White Hart Lane celebrated the latest demonstration of Tottenham's growing maturity in the Champions League with a convincing dismissal of Werder Bremen.

We did not witness the swashbuckling wave of attacks that swept Inter Milan away on that memorable night but it was still an impressive statement of intent that confirmed Spurs have the capability - in an attacking sense at least - to give any opponents problems as the Champions League progresses.

Werder are a team stripped of key players and confidence but the manner in which Spurs took control from the moment Younes Kaboul volleyed them into an early lead allowed them to illustrate how they have grown into the Champions League.

Further goals from Luka Modric and Peter Crouch, with a missed penalty from Gareth Bale in between, put Spurs through to the knockout stage and presented them with the enticing possibility of topping Group A if they win at FC Twente in their final game.

crouchreuters595.jpgCrouch and Lennon celebrate another goal. Photo: Reuters

The victory capped a fruitful few days for Spurs as they followed up their dramatic comeback win over Arsenal with a performance that will have added to their burgeoning European reputation.

Redknapp raised eyebrows at the weekend when he insisted Spurs can consider themselves Premier League challengers after victory at Arsenal. And he was in no mood to hurl a bucket of cold water over White Hart Lane expectations as his side added three goals against Werder to the three against Inter Milan, four against FC Twente and another four against Young Boys in the second leg of the qualifier.

If Spurs fans are revelling in watching their team inflict naked attacking intent on European opponents, Redknapp is enjoying it just as much. He offers bold words that sit comfortably alongside the bold actions of his players.

"We have played some great attacking football in the Champions League," he said. "I think we will give teams problems in the way we play. We have got to keep going in the Champions League. Who knows what can happen?

"We've got players who can get in any team. Bale and Modric can play in any team and I think I have got quite a few others who I think could play anywhere."

There is no question Spurs have proved they have the capacity to do damage as a wild card in the knockout games - the problem may come when opponents of the highest quality attempt to inflict damage on them.

Spurs' open approach will leave them vulnerable to teams of greater quality, while the regular concession of possession by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, especially in the second half, will be punished heavily by better teams than Werder.

The way Inter Milan raced into a 4-0 lead in the San Siro can be used as a suitable check should anyone in the Spurs camp care to get carried away.

Come what may in the later stages, Spurs have already more than justified their place in this season's Champions League.

mod595ap.jpgModric pulled the strings in midfield for Tottenham. Photo: AP

They were without the talismanic Rafael van der Vaart against Werder but Modric was the midfield orchestrator, while a resurgent Aaron Lennon joined Bale in offering pace and width, creating goals for Kaboul and Crouch and running Werder ragged all night.

Bale was, well, simply Bale. He ran in almost unstoppable straight lines and once again showed a remarkable ability to deliver quality from the flanks, even in the tightest corner.

Redknapp had every right to be elated with how Spurs have acquitted themselves in the Champions League, although all praise must be placed in the context of the opposition they were facing.

Spurs have a cultured style that is well suited to Europe and Redknapp's hand will be strengthened with Jermain Defoe back and both Michael Dawson and Ledley King closing in on returns.

There will be more testing examinations ahead but to move into the lucrative knockout stage ahead of schedule - and with all the possibilities that presents - represents a considerable recovery from the miserable moment Xavier Hochstrasser struck in Berne.

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  • Comment number 1.

    i have to disagree with you phil yes spurs have been playing well but can the keep it up and can the continuly qualify for the champions league like arsenal and man utd and chelsea

  • Comment number 2.

    Much bigger tests lie ahead...

  • Comment number 3.

    Time will tell as and when those bigger tests arrives but we all know that with the attacking threats that we offer now, most teams if not all will succumb when they come to teh Lane.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great result for us last night.

    The likes of Modric, Lennon and Gallas were all superb, and Defoe showed what we've been missing over the past three months: a striker who can get in behind defenders. However, Bremen were very poor and didn't seem to put up much of a fight.

    I doubt we'll get too much further in the competition. We could probably only reach the quarter-finals at most, although it all depends upon who we are drawn against. Barca and Real Madrid look streets ahead of everyone else this season and we would stand very little chance of knocking either of those two out, which is why it is so important for us to finish top of the group.

    We've already done better that anyone thought we would in the Champions League this year, despite missing the likes of King, Dawson, Woodgate and Defoe through injury. Furthermore, we've done it while playing attractive, attacking football. That's something we can be enormously proud of.

  • Comment number 5.

    Congrats to Redknapp on getting the England job in 2012!

    About time we started playing attacking football.

  • Comment number 6.

    Pace scares opposition defenders more than anything else! Spurs have it in abundance! (Walcott for eg has no end product yet still scared Barca imagine what Bale and Lennon will do) add in VDV skills, the uniquie Crouch and Defoe poaching! I think they could cause a shock!

  • Comment number 7.

    Totally agree with the first post, Spurs simply can't compete with the Gunners rich, successful history in the Champions League... Oh, wait...

    As a fan this has been a long time coming and its great to see our approach to the CL is positive, playing attacking football and winning fans across Europe

    Sure, bigger tests lie ahead, but this was by no means a 'gimme' group at the start of the campaign, and Harry's approach is a credit to him and Tottenham

  • Comment number 8.

    1. At 08:39am on 25 Nov 2010, gunnersfan4ever wrote:
    "i have to disagree with you phil yes spurs have been playing well but..."

    So you have to disagree, only to actually agree?? Typical Gooner - your side just got a sore backside at the weekend, hence your immediate need to post a pointless comment. Are you trying to suggest that Arsenal have been consistent? And I think Spurs are pretty safe in qualifying for the next stage...

  • Comment number 9.

    2. At 08:43am on 25 Nov 2010, bhoys909 wrote:
    Much bigger tests lie ahead...

    Must be the morning for pointless generic statements. Especially as they've played the Champions twice (and beaten them into the bargain), so really, are there bigger tests?

    Modric is a class act - I still don't think we've seen the best of him, and although Bale gets most of the plaudits, I reckon Modric is their best asset, and one that will only appreciate in value.

  • Comment number 10.

    Spurs are entertaining to watch, unlike Bolton ;o)They let in as many goals as they score, which is always good for the neutral.

    I don't think they have the strength to compete in several competitions however - their form suffers after European matches.

  • Comment number 11.

    To think that only a few weeks ago Harry Redknapp was hitting out at fans who were booing Spurs! I have to say I am impressed with Spurs, coming back from 2-0 down against Arsenal and currently top of their Champions League group. Their football has been exciting to watch with some terrific goals but it has been mixed with some degree of frustration. I think we shall have to wait until later in the season to see whether Spurs have the legs for both the Champions League and the EPL. I hope they do! They certainly are breaking up the monotony at the top of the EPL. Tougher tests will lie ahead for Spurs but I think they will be a better team afterwards.

  • Comment number 12.

    At 08:39am on 25 Nov 2010, gunnersfan4ever

    Please tell me which team has qualified for the group stages? Is it the team from south London or north London? Oh, that would be us. The true pride of north London. The mighty spurs.
    All the goons were saying we would flunk out at the first hurdle, well we're into the final 16 and you're not. What a joke you lot are. All talk and no product.
    2-0 and you messed it up. 2-0 and you messed it up.
    I'm still laughing now thinking of wenger throwing his tantrum.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm not sure why people are getting so excited about Tottenham qualifying for the last 16. They are one of the qualifiers from by far the richest (biggest spending) league in Europe. They should be expected to reach the last 16 as a minimum requirement. They have spent fortunes over the years, and money usually equates to success in Football. Frankly they would have underachieved by not qualifying for the last 16. I think if they can top their group they have a good chance of reaching the QF, however if they come second it's very hard to imagine them beating any of the real quality teams.

    I think that in Modric and Van Der Vaart they have two top quality players with a very large squad of good players as backup. I think they should be praised for their attacking football, although they will be found out by Europes top guns.

  • Comment number 14.

    PS Phil, I don't know if this has been suggested before but do you think we could have a quarterly review blog of the EPL? Discuss the teams current standings/performance and what we can expect later on... Could be an interesting read!

  • Comment number 15.

    I think spurs can fancy their chances against anyone in europe bar barcelona and Real madrid. But it will be extremely difficult for them to combine progress in the later stages of the CL with retaining a champions league spot for next season especially during February and March when the very tough games would come thick and fast.
    On another note, does anyone else agree with me when I say there are now too many 'weak' teams in the CL? The likes of Partizan Belgrade, Bursaspor, Zilina, Hapoel Tel-aviv are not a credit to the competition. Even some of the 'stronger' teams like Werder, Benfica, Ajax seem to be bowing out without putting up too much of a fight.

  • Comment number 16.

    First season confidence from Spurs fans, still doesn't explain why they think they have a chance in the Premiership. The complete lack of clean sheets does not bode well for the future in either the Premiership or the Champions League. Bigger, massive tests do lie in wait for Spurs, much bigger than Inter Milan, who while European Champions are by no means a massive force in Europe. Wait until Madrid or Barcelona come knocking, or AC Milan then judge Spurs' performance in this seasons Champions League.

    We all know the league stages means absolutely nothing, knock out football is where you test yourself, no second chances.

  • Comment number 17.

    At 09:02am on 25 Nov 2010, ManUtdFan wrote:

    They certainly are breaking up the monotony at the top of the EPL.


    No they are not. Tottenham will be delighted to get 4th again. The league will once again be between Chelsea and Man Utd. Please don't fall for the Sky led hype about our 'unpredictable' Premier League.

  • Comment number 18.

    I wouldn't write off our chances against the bigger boys, if we can strengthen our defence in January.
    I do agree that our biggest problem may be to qualify again next year. The league seems to be getting tougher every year.

  • Comment number 19.

    Even by your standards this a poor blog. How can you be a european force after playing 5 games? Especially when 3 of those games were against average to poor opposition and they are yet to win an away european game. A hard feat to achieve?

    Nothing bad will be said against Harry and his team becuse he is a "media darling" and a "national treasure" but the reason why they play an "open game" with "swashbuckling" players is because that is all he is tatically capable of implementing. Arsenal destroyed them at the Emirates when he tried to play a 4-4-1-1.

    If playing 4-4-2 and hitting long balls at a target man whilst "mixing it up" with some good midfield play, was a formula for success in Europe, then surely other English teams would have adopted this style? You have to ask yourself Phil, why did Ferguson and Wenger introduce the 4-4-1-1 / 4-5-1 formation to their team in Europe? It wasn't just for fun. Redknapp is tactically naive if he belives that they won't come unstuck at the Lane playing this way, let alone away from home.

    There is no doubting Spurs have played some good football season in Europe, the home defeat of Inter being the highlight, but if you have followed European football, you would know the reason why Inter were champions last year was the "Mourinho" factor. This Inter team was largely the same team that Man Utd and Liverpool brushed a side in the seasons before Mourinho's arrival. They have since got older and slower, and there is a question of hunger this season after winning every domestic honour they could in one season, and without Mourinho's organization look a much weaker team. Spurs did well to target Maicon with Bale's pace, but if bygone champions of Europe had arrived in the group stages the result would have been far different.

    Saying all that Spurs are safely through to the knock outstages, and if they can secure their maiden away victory then they will be in a strong position. However, far tougher opposition lie in wait who will be able to counter high tempo football, and be able to deal with the inevitable long ball that Spurs use. Then we will see what Redknapp and Spurs are made of.

    To be a European force, you have be consistent performers over a period of years, not over 1/3 of a tournament. If Spurs really are a "european force" then that is a sad inditement about the state of european football, because the only players who could get into the top teams of europe are Bale (on current form), Modric and Van der Vaart.

  • Comment number 20.

    Also I am no Arsenal fan, but it is strange how much more a win for teams likes Spurs and 'Citeh' matter in derbys. Small clund syndrome where all they can do is compare themselves to their bigger and better neighbours.

    Face the facts and acknowledge that Spurs will always be a small team in comparison to Arsenal. The fact a derby win means so much to fans of Tottenham shows this as clear as day.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't understand the basis for the arugment really. It's setting itself up nicely for a big fall. They played against a diminished team. That was in their favour. But who have they really played yet? Well done Spurs but I think Harry will be found out against Barca or Real and found out badly. But this is a year to gain experience and build. We shouldn't expect too much more than the next round.

  • Comment number 22.

    Can't wait for the spurs 4-4 all at the lane with barca, followed by the 6-1 mauling at the camp nou

  • Comment number 23.

    Spurs get through a stage that is nothing more than routine for all the other sides. Let's not get too giddy, cos it can all come crashing down with one away goal

  • Comment number 24.

    Comment number 1 and 7 sound like gooners who are still bitter after being humiliated on Saturday. Spurs won because Arsenal threw it away and then tuesday wasn't much fun for them either as Fabregas is now out. Spurs aren't a one man team like Arsenal and coped without VDV who has been brilliant since signing,shades of Cantona in his Man utd pomp. I'm just enjoying the adventure for too many years I've checked the scores and we were thrashed by the big teams. Christian Gross is a name I try not to remember. Lets not get carried away, the FA Cup is the trophy to go for. If we can stay in the top 4 then we might be contenders next year, but its unrealistic to say we can win the prem or progress much further in the champions league, but least we beat Inter and Arsenal this season and did better than the gooners in the group phase.

  • Comment number 25.

    I love reading the responses to these blogs.
    Some people simply can't accept that Tottenham have a good side and have played very well in what is a tougher than average Champions League group. There is no escaping Inter are not the same with Benitez in charge, Twente are not a very top side and Werder were poor last night but we still had to beat the teams in the group, including the champions.
    Arsenal fans are jealous because their team simply isn't going anywhere. They will always be top 4 but never champions and will never win the champions league. They will always be a side that will never be good enough to win anything that matters. I am not saying Tottenham ever will be either but our team is on the up and making huge strides, both in Europe and at home.
    To the comments such as always poor after Euro games, we have taken 7 points from 12 after Europe. Need to get your facts right.
    As for bigger tests, of course there are but after beating the champions by playing flowing football, who is there to fear? We won't win the champions league but at least we have played some good football and produced good games, unlike some other poor groups and their games purely to generate money for the big teams.
    It will still be between Barca, Real, Man Utd and Chelsea at the end but whoever Spurs draw, it will be an exciting game and the opposition will be in for one hell of a test.

  • Comment number 26.

    Yes far stronger opposition does lie in wait for the mighty Spurs, however those sides certainly won't want to be drawing us in the next round. Obviously I don't think we're going to go on to win the competition, but then no-one thought Porto would do it a few years ago and look what happened there. It's not impossible and we're certainly in a better position to progress than Arsenal are right now. Winning the group would help immensely but if we don't you can bet the top teams like Madrid and Barca will ne hoping they don't draw us out of the hat. Not because they don't think they can beat us but becasue they've seen it certainly won't be an easy match.

  • Comment number 27.

    Fair play to Spurs. They are being rewarded for their almost fearless attacking quality and, you're right, can boast some of the most potent attacking talents in Europe. It has been a pleasure watching them. They may have what it takes to cause an upset or two in the knock-out stages. What's brilliant for the Redknapp and his team is that whatever they do in this competition from this stage on will be a bonus. They can play with no pressure and enjoy themselves. And they've certainly been doing that so far!

  • Comment number 28.

    13. At 09:08am on 25 Nov 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    "They will be found out by Europes top guns."

    We scored 3 goals against inter, in the second half playing with ten men, in their own back yard and then stuffed them at our place. They are the current champions of Europe. The very best in Europe. The toppiest of of the top guns.
    That's blown your theory out the water. Top bombing!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Got to appologise to comment 7. Thought you were a angry gooner vive la Spurs!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    We scored 3 goals against inter, in the second half playing with ten men, in their own back yard and then stuffed them at our place. They are the current champions of Europe. The very best in Europe. The toppiest of of the top guns.
    That's blown your theory out the water. Top bombing!!


    They're also managed by Rafa Benitez, miles behind in a one horse league

  • Comment number 31.

    After beating an Arsenal side who should have won comfortably at the weekend but self-destructed after one of the most one sided first-halves I've ever seen and beating a Bremen team 'stripped of key players and confidence' suddenly Harry is tipping them for both Premier and Champions League glory? Who's getting carried away now....?

    The PL table show them lying sixth - still 2 places lower than they finished last season - with the big guns still above them without showing much form yet themselves and all the favourites are through in the CL. For most of their managers the serious business doesn't even start in earnest till after Christmas.

    Harry would have England as WC winners after the Bulgaria game if he was in charge.

  • Comment number 32.

    It's going to be exciting to see just how far Spurs can get this season, but realistically it probably won't be much further thsn we already have. I think most of us would be happy with qualifying for the Champions' League again next season.

    It is too early to say whether Spurs are the real deal yet, but we're hopeful. Once the defence is back at full strength we could be a match for any of the big names, though we could still use a better goalkeeper. Gomes will never cut it at the highest level, and the absence of a quality goalkeeper is why Arsenal haven't really challenged for anything recently. It's a lot more necessary than some people seem to think.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    As an Arsenal fan I would like to applaud Spurs for how well they've done so far this season in the CL, not so much for the results, but the performances have been terrific. Unsurprisingly I'm gonna provide a bit of a backhanded caveat in pointing out that this has all been achieved by continueing to play their proper best XI in the group stages at every opportunity. The other 3 haven't done this and while Arsenal particularly have suffered from this it's worth noting that we haven't sufffered the same hangovers in the league.

    Spurs are doing allright right now, but if Arsenal were in the same sort of position in the league (as we were at this stage two seasons ago), things would not have been considered at all acceptable. Redknapp can talk about challenging for the league as much as he wants but while nodbody including themselves consider it to be a crisis to lye outside of the top 4 at this stage they won't achieve it regularly and by not keeping at least a few players fresh for the weekend games they deprioritise it. In contrast look to City where any points dropped in the league and slip away from that 4th spot is considered a true disaster, this is the attitude all the big 4 maintained in their years at the top and this is why it lasted so long.

  • Comment number 35.

    Good result for Spurs last night but the group stages is the easy bit. Every english team had a fairly straight-forward group, although Arsenal are making hard work of theirs, and i'd have been suprised if any hadn't qualified.

    The hard work starts in the knock-out phase, and Spurs weak defence could be their downfall in that.

  • Comment number 36.

    Number 20 has it right when he talk s about Sopurs having small club syndrome.

    This blog is about Spurs in Europe, but the majority of the replies have been used to crow about sneaking past Arsenal on Saturday and then banging on about their short comings.

    Until Spurs fan, stop watching others and concentrate on their own club, they will never be a big team, and this mentality is what is needed by the team itself if it wants to get to the business end of the tournament.

    Wild Statement of the the responses so far from No. 28

    "We scored 3 goals against inter, in the second half playing with ten men, in their own back yard and then stuffed them at our place. They are the current champions of Europe. The very best in Europe."

  • Comment number 37.

    "The way Inter Milan raced into a 4-0 lead in the San Siro can be used as a suitable check should anyone in the Spurs camp care to get carried away."

    You're missing the whole raison d'être for being a Spurs fan Phil. We are totally accustomed to leading by three and then shipping four; we're also (esp. this season) used to coming from two, three goals down and winning. It's the drama and unpredictability that is one of the things we love most about our team - to dare is to do and all that - and it makes for entertaining viewing for the neutral. We will get carried away because hey...we're in the knock-out stages of the Champions cool is that?!? Whatever happens we've more than acquitted ourselves in our maiden CL campaign, and we'll have a blast whoever we play and whatever the result.


  • Comment number 38.

    I dont think we have anything to fear with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid or any other team for that matter. For all those who keep on saying 'there are bigger tests ahead' well thats what the champions league is all about! to get the bigger tests, to play the best teams! Nobody expects us to do anything so there is no pressure on us and that's a good thing. So lets just enjoy oursleves and see where it takes us.

  • Comment number 39.

    RE; recent post suggesting spurs would be a team no one would want to draw in next round> i think barca/real. would be delighted drawing spurs, knowing spurs wd be a team who don't play defensivly(and if they did they wd soudly get beat) spurs attacking is exactly what real/barca wd love leaving far more space to play than any other team they wd play. I'm afarid id spurs draw one of them 2 they wd love on agg by at least plus -4.
    Don't think another english team wd lose by that margin.

  • Comment number 40.

    plus-4 lol oopsy

  • Comment number 41.

    20. Think you need to open your eyes - Arsenal and Spurs are teams that are of similar size and prestige - You look at the trophy cabinets and see that they both are pretty full though Arsenals has been bolstered more in recent times. Remember Arsenal never actually got promoted to the top flight - they bought their way there.....

    But now I have ranted at an Arsenal fan in disguise, I have to say that although we have one two on the trot against what look good quality outfits, us Spurs fans need to keep our feet on the floor. Arsenal's defence is rubbish compared to the quality of the rest of the team (the midfield and strike force are top class) while WB were without most of their first team (remember they delivered a good performance against us in the first leg).

    Harry's belief that we can challenge for the title with a couple of signings I believe is a dream as we don't have the depth required in all areas of the field. Yes our midfield is top class going forward, but when you look at us going backwards we rather a shambells. Yes we have quality centre halfs in Daws, King, Gallas and Woodgate plus upcoming star in Kaboul but 3 of these do have fitness issues. Then their is our full backs - Esso is not good enough really, how many mistakes does he make?. Up front is an issue as we don't have a world class striker - Man U have Rooney, Chelsea have Drogba - Defoe is good, Crouch can be, Pava is too moody and Keano looks like he is has lost interest. Do you think any of these will hit 25 a season?

    Win the Champions league - yes, I believe that is possible as Spurs attacking abilities can open up even the best that Europe have to offer when they are in the mood.

    If Harry wants Spurs to play in the CL next season we will have to make sure that we deliver this weekend against one of our bogey teams. Our record so far after CL games are not good. Let's hope Van the Man is fit as his record at the Lane so far is brill.

  • Comment number 42.

    Congratulations to Spurs, pleased to see them doing well, as I'm pleased to see any British team perform well in Europe. That said they will not win the league (as suggested after the Arsenal game) and they will not win the Champions League.

    Their major win of the season was beating a below par Inter side who are a shadow of the team Jose lead last year. This team (who are only in 6th in Serie A) ripped them apart in the opening half at the San Siro which is exactly what Barca & Real would do to them. I hope they go on but I'd rather see a British team that stands a chance of winning it go on (that said I can't see any of our teams matching the Spanish duo).

    In the league they are too inconsistent, it will be Chelsea's title again unless Man Utd can buy some quality in January. I fear for Spurs because Citeh seem to have more consistency in the league this season and as soon as they get Champions League football I can't see them letting it go, which will massively reduce Spur's chances of playing it again. (Basically they'll have to come ahead of Arsenal whom I think are a better team).

    If they don't make it to the QF and top 4 then I think it is a poor return for the amount of money they have spent over the past 5 years.

    That said, congratulations again Spurs fans and I hope you enjoy your moment in the sun.

  • Comment number 43.

    One of the other positives for Spurs is that we can now focus entirely on the league for the next 2 1/2 months, starting with Liverpool on Sunday.
    There won't the the distractions or concerns about whether or not to drop player X because he's struggling with a niggling injury.

    As for the games coming thick and fast in February and March - bring it on. After all, at the same time last season we were in the Carling Cup AND FA Cup while chasing down the top 4 spot. Each win bred more confidence! It's not like we're going to be playing every Weds & Saturday as we won't have the Carling Cup to deal with.

    We will surely also strenghten in January, not only via purchases, but with the returns of other key players.
    Let's not forget, as much as Bremen were stripped of players due to injury, Spurs have been/are missing some big players - Dawson, King, Woodgate, Huddlestone. We would have kept more clean sheets if 2 of those 3 at the back were playing regularly.

    What were all the Arsenal comments over the last 8 months?
    "You'll never get top 4"
    "You'll never get through the qualifiers"
    "You'll get thumped by Inter"
    "You'll never get out of the group"

    Hmmmm.... who's reliant on winning their last group game????

  • Comment number 44.

    "You're not going to finish above Man City and Liverpool and get fourth..."

    "You're not going to get past the qualifying round..."

    "You're not going to get a point against Inter..."

    "You're not going to get through the group stage..."

    Just please keep telling us what else we're not going to do!

  • Comment number 45.

    ordiokid *19

    To be a European force, you have be consistent performers over a period of years, not over 1/3 of a tournament. If Spurs really are a "european force" then that is a sad inditement about the state of european football, because the only players who could get into the top teams of europe are Bale (on current form), Modric and Van der Vaart

    For your information Tottenham have won more major European trophies than Arsenal. What you are actually saying is, you have to consistently qualify for a tournament to be a force. Well I guess the likes of Roma, Shaktar and Dynamo Kiev are major European forces because they consistently qualify.

    The notion that only Bale, Modric and VDV would get into a top European side is pointless, just How many do you think of the Utd side would walk into another major European side. It is the sum of the parts that count, not the individuals.

    Personally I have always thought by copying other teams style of play, gets a team nowhere because the team that invented it will always play it better. What Spurs have done is show a fearless cavalier attitude to games which, in my mind has been like a breath of fresh air. It has also caught a team like Inter on the back foot.

    Whatever happens for Spurs this season, they should be applauded for the way they have played in Europe. The fans of English FOOTBALL certainly needed a pick me up after a summer of hell at the World Cup and Spurs have provided that..

  • Comment number 46.

    I wish journalists could live and die by their own sword in the way football managers do with results. Phil, I seem to remember you writing something similar about Berbatov after a great hattrick against Liverpool back in September. I think the jist of it was that he's now the player we all thought he was, world class blah blah blah and that he's now justifying his hefty price tag. He hasn't scored since.

    Tottenham are no doubt a good team, packed with great players who are all hitting form at the right time but lets just wait and see. Personally I suspect that the first proper good team they come up against will put them out. They can point to the win over Inter Milan as an argument against that but if they were to meet again in the knockout stage Inter would knock them out. In a 2 legged tie, Spurs wouldn't have been allowed to get back into the game at the San Siro and would have almost certainly been knocked out.

    That said, I hope out of all the English teams that they go the furthest. They are by far the most likeable team to follow.

  • Comment number 47.

    This article feels very premature to me. Wins over an underperforming Inter Milan team and a severely depleted Werder Bremen side do not amount to European greatness. Let's judge them after they've played the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan and see where they are at, as I suspect they will be found wanting.

  • Comment number 48.

    28. At 09:28am on 25 Nov 2010, Mark Stone wrote:

    We scored 3 goals against inter, in the second half playing with ten men, in their own back yard and then stuffed them at our place. They are the current champions of Europe. The very best in Europe. The toppiest of of the top guns.
    That's blown your theory out the water. Top bombing!!!


    Hmmmmmmm 3 goals against a team who had taken their foot of the pedal. Then a very good win against an out of form, injury hit team who are coating through the group stages. I would suggest that you get your head out of the clouds! Enjoy the hype now, but once the serious business starts it will be very difficult for Tottenham.

  • Comment number 49.

    Spurs biggest challenge will be marrying European results with Premier League results. Man United didn't do that properly last year and it cost them the title. If Spurs don't do it I fear it will cost them a Champions League place.

  • Comment number 50.

    To sum up, Spurs have no real realistic chance of winning CL or EPL. But that said i believe they now have the foundations to possibly challenge for them in upcoming seasons, with a a couple more good signings being all they need. As a neutral they are so good to watch and i hope they continue in this veign all season long. ariticle 47, as for how far they are at the mo> i think most spurs fans no they would lose 9 times outta ten when playing those top teams, but then again so would most teams, so is kinda pointless suggesting that. think a realistic arguemnt would be are spurs in the top ten teams in the world at the moment?

  • Comment number 51.

    'lets see what they are like when the play the likes of Barcelona, Real Mardrid and AC Milan'

    these are the same people who said.
    "you won't finish 4,
    "you won't get through the qualifers"
    "you wont get a point in the group"
    "you will embarass the premier league in europe"
    "you won't get out of the group"

    you just keep telling us what we won't do! and we will just keep proving you so obviously RIGHT! lol.

  • Comment number 52.

    Spurs have been playing great football, and have been a joy to watch. As a Manchester United supporter Icongratulate them, and wish them well .... until they come up against us, when we will bet them, and even easier if they have not learned to play to the whistle !

    They have many bigger challenges ahead, but being knockout over two legs anything can happen, particularly given the way they are playing.

    What remains to be seen is how they fare in the Premier League. It would be sad to see them do well in Champions League only to be one-season-wonders.

  • Comment number 53.

    16. At 09:11am on 25 Nov 2010, SolomonVanHelsing wrote:

    We all know the league stages means absolutely nothing, knock out football is where you test yourself, no second chances.
    No second chances? Second is two isn't it? How many legs are there in knockout football? As a spurs fan, I can assure you we have already used the second leg as second chance vs young boys.

    44. At 09:45am on 25 Nov 2010, Howells_about_that wrote:
    "You're not going to finish above Man City and Liverpool and get fourth..."

    "You're not going to get past the qualifying round..."

    "You're not going to get a point against Inter..."

    "You're not going to get through the group stage..."

    Just please keep telling us what else we're not going to do!
    Completely agree with that post, for so long we have been the underdogs and belittled by the so called 'bigger clubs' saying we won't achieve what we already have, now i'm not saying we're going to be able to go to the likes of Real Madrid and win 4-0, but we can have a real go, we have nothing to lose we have achieved more than a lot of people thought we already could so we may aswell have a go!

    At the moment we're playing good free-flowing football which is very entertaining and easy on the eye, when the groups were drawn everyone was saying 'oh Spurs won't make it out the group, it's the toughest group' etc and now look, top of the group with the possibility of going through top in the last game whilst making the champions of Europe look like nothing more than school boys along the way. We have nothing to fear so bring it on!

  • Comment number 54.

    Inter may have won it last year, but they now have a new coach who has different ideas. If your a Liverpool fan you'll testify that last season that Rafa completely ran out of ideas and played predictable sloppy football. He moaned it was the Americans fault,but the blame is squarely on him. His transfer policy was abysmal,buying and selling like it was the christmas sales. Crouch,Keane,Alonso,Bellamy,Sissoko and Cisse out have to be seen as massive own goals don't they? I fancied we could beat Inter when the draw came out, knowing that he would ruin the European champions in only a couple of months

    PS To all the Arsenal fans saying we're gloating about Saturday I maintain that Arsenal threw the game away and thats just the point. Arsenal have believed their own hype for the last 5 years then self destructed when the going gets hard. You are not the invincibles anymore, Vieira, Petit,Bergkamp,Henry and the rest are a distant memory in football terms.

  • Comment number 55.

    45. At 09:46am on 25 Nov 2010, brian wrote:

    Complain about this comment

    For your information Tottenham have won more major European trophies than Arsenal. What you are actually saying is, you have to consistently qualify for a tournament to be a force. Well I guess the likes of Roma, Shaktar and Dynamo Kiev are major European forces because they consistently qualify.


    Well Shaktar won the Uefa Cup only a couple of seasons ago, and Roma are former European Cup finalists. Shaktar are also looking very likely to qualify through to the knockout stages so I would say that at the very least they are on a par with Tottenham.

  • Comment number 56.

    First of all, to all the people saying that Phil is wrong to write blogs such as this I say you are idiots, his job is to stimulate discussion, which is exactly what he has done! He's motivated you to come on this board and moan about Spurs, who, much like Phil, are stimulating discussion by making the EPL and the Champions League a lot more interesting this year!

    Second, I think Spurs do have the capability to go forward in the Champions League, but I think it does depend on whether they top the group and who that means they'll draw.

    And thirdly, bring on Arsenal!

  • Comment number 57.

    I think one of the things that stands out about Spurs this year is their great strength in depth. Even their bench last night looked strong. I really believe (even as a Gooner) that Spurs shouldn't be written off in the PL. The CL is maybe a different matter, it requires a different mentality in the knock out stages and experience too, but we've all seen what they're (or at least Bale's) capable of against Inter.

    I'm certainly not writing them off for silverware this year. Really good article on their title hopes here: I think they've got an outside chance.

  • Comment number 58.

    Bale, again was superb and every time he got the ball you could see the Werder players panic which is great to see as a Spurs fan.

    However I think he was out shone by two players, Modric and Lennon. Modric was outstanding being the most creative player on the pitch and trying to make us more potent in a slow first half. But also, surprisingly he played like a gritty Wilson Palacios(who also had a very good game), Modric would tackle back when he lost it and generally provided cover for the defence, it was joy to watch.

    Lennon was back to his best and taking on players at every opportunity and beating them regularly and then delivering a final ball as proved by his two awesome assists. It was great to see him and Palacios playing well and maybe this will be another Bale/Hutton situation and both Lennon and Palacios will continue to go from srength to strength.

  • Comment number 59.

    How amusing it is to read the remarks of the Gooners, they said we wouldn't qualify for the next round because our group was so difficult. Now we have qualified our group is now weak and we have no chance against the big teams. Watching Arsenal struggle in the weakest group against some of the poorest teams in the competition doesn't seem to interest them as much as denigrating us.

    It's truly amazing how sad and pathetic some supporters can be, Spurs have done exceptionally well to qualify, especially with a game to go but rather than praise them for their achievements. Arsenal fans quickly forget their previous predictions of our inevitable humiliation, by predicting our downfall later on and all the time forgetting about their own abysmal displays this season in the CL.

  • Comment number 60.

    i think its quite premature to labelling spurs a 'force' in europe.they are far from it. i think to even be considered a force, you should have won the competition, no?

  • Comment number 61.

    60. At 10:18am on 25 Nov 2010, The Almanac wrote:
    i think its quite premature to labelling spurs a 'force' in europe.they are far from it. i think to even be considered a force, you should have won the competition, no?
    So Chelsea aren't a force then? Oh, my mistake.

  • Comment number 62.

    Interesting that much of the post on here is about how easy the group stages are in the Champions League.
    I seem to recall that a few months ago Tottenham were going to do an Everton and get dumped out in qualifying.
    Then they were going to struggle to qualify for even a Europa cup place in a difficult group.
    Now it's 'wait until you meet a top team then you'll get found out'.
    There are also lots of comments about how one sided the first half at the Library was on Saturday. Don't know what game you guys were watching. Arsenal simply did their usual stuff, pretty from defence to midfield then largely naff all else up front.
    The euphoria from Spurs fans I would also suggest, is not down to beating Arsenal, but getting that stupid monkey of their back (not beaten top four away in fifteen decades).
    Redknapp has said that Tottenham can challenge for the Premier league 'in the next few years, with a couple of additions'. Bearing in mind that they have had a makeshift defence for nearly the whole season so far, maybe those additions are Dawson, Woodgate and King with Defoe up front.
    Spurs do need some new blood, particularly at the back, but that doesn't mean they don't have a good team now, which hasn't it must be said really started playing in the Premier league yet.
    And I know many of the established top four fans are getting very twitchy that their gentlemen's club may be broken up over the next few seasons, but please, credit where it's due.
    Progression from what initially appeared to be a very difficult group before Manu U and Arsenal have progressed from their seemingly easier groups must demand some respect.

  • Comment number 63.

    Nice to hear positive things being said about Spurs. To be honest, I'm just enjoying seeing us playing competitive football against the European sides we only usually meet in friendlies. I'm pleased with the style we've shown under Harry, and I think the competition has been enriched all the more for it this year, certainly for the neutrals.

    I think, its fair to say, job done in Europe this year, and while we've got to give it a shot while we can, the main priority now has to be to secure a spot for next year's competition, and show that we are not going to be another Everton/Blackburn flash in the pan

  • Comment number 64.

    There's a bitterness that surprises me about a lot of the comments.

    Of course it's extremely unlikely we'll have much impact beyond the next round of the competition.

    Of course it's going to be very tough challenging for the top 4 in the league again.

    But I urge any neutrals and even the Gooners who apparently aren't interested in us, just sit back and enjoy the ride, we are!

    The CL has been crying out for some excitement and our gung ho attacking style is a joy to watch. We understand the risks that this brings, as well as those that come from our inexperience but that's the fun in being a Spurs fan.

    Whilst the Press and a few fans shout about title credentials or European success, we're enjoying beating our neighbours and strolling to wins in Europe's top competition.

    Stop taking the game so seriously, you never know you might enjoy it!

  • Comment number 65.

    Spurs a good attacking outfit and great to watch, but to say they might challenge for the CL is going a bit far. As soon as they come up against a decent side (in half decent form and without stacks of injuries) they will struggle and get put out.

    I think being able to lure VDV to WHL shows what a bonus being in the CL really is for clubs trying to progress.

  • Comment number 66.

    to all them gooners, have you qualified yet? no.
    your all a bunch of hippicrits, tottenham have the hardest group out of all the english teams. for god sake stop trying to put what they are achieving down. and arsenal fans you might not even qualify. then what will you say? il take it from united and chelsea fans because they are clearly better teams than us. but arsenal are just as inconsistant with as bad a defence. TIMES ARE CHANGING IN NORTH LONDON. COME ON YOU SPURS

  • Comment number 67.

    7. At 08:55am on 25 Nov 2010, Mad_Dog2020 wrote:
    Totally agree with the first post, Spurs simply can't compete with the Gunners rich, successful history in the Champions League... Oh, wait...


    Except that's not what the first post said. Try reading it before you have a dig at your North London rivals.

    The first post said you're playing well (and for my two cents, you're up there as possibly the most enjoyable English team to watch at the moment) but questioned whether you can qualify year in, year out, especially with the extra games that the Champions League provides.

    Personally, I hope you can. But don't start questioning Arsenals record in the competition just because you're doing well in your FIRST year in it.

  • Comment number 68.

    I think the saddest thing here is the lack of support from fans of other English clubs for us in the CL. Yes, there's rivalries, and yes, everyone always has an opinion on spurs, but shouldn't european football be where the bitterness ends?

    I always back the other PL clubs against any foreign team, be it Arsenal, Chelsea or United (even Rangers, bless.)

    As for whether we can progress further in the tournament, why not? A decent result away to Twente (which will be difficult) will put us top of the group, and there are a couple of fairly good teams to draw finishing second in their group. I fully believe that if we top the group we stand an excellent chance of reaching the quarters, then see where we go from there.

    If we can keep our heads away from home as we did at the Emirates (2-0 down) and the San Siro (4-0 down), then I reckon we can bang in enough away goals to give ourselves an excellent chance of finishing off anyone at home.

  • Comment number 69.

    First up good article Phil

    I heard numerous times that Weder were without a lot of players, but Spurs themselves were without Dawson, King, Woodgate, Huddlestone, Van Der Vaart, O'Hara and don't forget Defoe is only just back from injury and short of match fitness. Plus you can only beat what's in front of you.

    A lot of people said that Spurs would't qualify from this group when it was drawn - they have with a game to spare - and there's a very realistic possibility they could finish top.

    I think I'm right in saying that English teams can't meet in the next round which reduces the list of possible opponents - so finishing top would mean Spurs avoid Barca and Real as well as Bayern. If they finish 2nd they could have AC Milan, Roma, Marseille or a number of other teams. I'm pretty certain though that no team will be looking forward to going to White Hart Lane.

    Anyway, it's not long till January and the transfer window opens and lets face it the chances of a Harry Redknapp run Spurs not conducting transfer activity then is minimal based on previous form. It will be interesting to see what players are bought in and how that strengthens the two campaigns.

  • Comment number 70.

    Aside from the usual mudslinging between Spurs and Arsenal fans that this article has generated, I think you’re right Phil in your assertion that Spurs are fully deserving of their place in the knock-out stages.

    I certainly don’t think any other team would want to be playing against them in Europe right now, other than maybe Jose at Real wanting to knock them down a peg-or-two to show that he’s still the best (in his own head).

    I don’t think it takes “time”, as such, to become a “power” in Europe – a “consistent power” takes many years, but football is very much a game of the present, and Spurs’ performances against Inter (albeit a side seemingly in decline) are enough for me to say that they have “arrived” on Europe’s biggest stage.

    Phil – do think that Harry Rednapp will alter the style or approach that he team takes when it comes to the knock-out stages? With the league stage, there’s 6 results to play for, so a somewhat attack-minded approach might backfire in the odd game, but be enough to get a team through overall. However, I think Harry might need to temper some of that attacking flair, particularly in the away leg(s), and then try and get after the opposition when back at The Lane.

  • Comment number 71.

    "You're not going to finish above Man City and Liverpool and get fourth..."
    "You're not going to get past the qualifying round..."
    "You're not going to get a point against Inter..."
    "You're not going to get through the group stage..."

    # 53 Just please keep telling us what else we're not going to do!

    okay - how's about this for starters
    .."You're not gonna finish 5th behind City after throwing away a 15pt lead on them"
    "You're not going to be humilated by Eduardo and Shaktar in the CL Knock-out stages"
    "You're not going to sell Gareth Bale after he puts in a transfer request in Jan"
    "You're not going to move to the Olympic Stadium site"

    ...let's see if that works ;)

  • Comment number 72.

    I have just looked at the CL tables and really see no reson that Spurs can't at least get to the quarters IF they win their group. And saying they need a win at Twente, does assume that Inter are going to turn their own corner at Bremen.
    If Spurs don't win the group I would suggest the odds are very short (with both Man U and Chelsea likely to win theirs, that) that they will meet either Barca or Real, which, even to my optimistic bent may be a step to far at this stage.

  • Comment number 73.

    Spurs can beat almost anyone on their day now (particularly at home) and I think the (honestly) neutral fans would applaud and enjoy the fact we've just gone for it in the CL games. I do think we're fragile defensively against quality, but I think getting even 2 back from Huddlestone, Dawson and King will help with that in the short term.

    In a way, I think I'd rather see us carry on in the same fashion in Europe (e.g. attacking teams all the way) and if we go out, it will probably do us a favour in terms of qualifying next year. If we could get to the last 8 and qualify for CL again through the league it would be an excellent season and we'd look a more attractive proposition in terms of signing more players of the quality of Modric, Bale and VdV.

    Break the bank for (G) Cahill and sign a left back who doesn't like to play scary passes in January though Harry, I think we're alright for attacking midfielders now...!

  • Comment number 74.


    I think this write up is premature or the caption is not accurate cos the content might be okay but not the heading.

    Reason being that Spurs have not exceeded what Leeds United did as debutants and we all know where the club is now in the English League.

    Using the word Mature can a lil bit misleading. Yeah there are improvements to be seen from there Debut game but Mature I dont think so. Newcastle under Bobby Robson also gave a good account of themselves wouldd we have called them mature then or now???

    So these early praise singing of clubs needs to stop and blog writers need to be a bit more analytical both in the caption and the content of their write up.

    Other than that, keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 75.

    Help me out did Man U, or Arsenal in their DEBUT champion's league qualify from the group stages...
    Spurs face tough European test

    Peter Crouch was not even trying to be careful what he wished for as he basked in the glory of Tottenham's qualification for the serious business of the Champions League group stage.

    "We want Real Madrid and Inter. You don't know how good you are until you play against the best," announced Spurs' hat-trick hero after Harry Redknapp's side eased fears they might squander a potential £30m jackpot by easing past Young Boys of Berne.

    Now Crouch and Spurs will get the chance to find out as the draw in Monaco threw them up against holders Inter Milan, albeit in a different guise under the leadership of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez as opposed to Jose Mourinho.

    Werder Bremen and FC Twente complete a tough reintroduction to Europe's elite group for Spurs in a draw laced with cautious optimism for all of the Premier League's representatives.....

    The Italian champions' pedigree was on display for all to see at the draw in Monaco as they made a clean sweep of the individual honours for last season's tournament. Julio Cesar was named goalkeeper of the year, Maicon defender of the year, Wesley Sneijder midfielder of the year and Diego Milito striker of the year.....

    Werder Bremen finished third in the Bundesliga last season and recently sold World Cup star and inspirational midfield man Mesut Ozil to Real Madrid, while FC Twente enter the group phase still armed with the confidence of their Eredivisie win last season, even though the architect of the triumph, former England coach Steve McClaren, has departed for Wolfsburg to be replaced by the Belgian Michel Preud'homme.....


    SPURS - tough group but a chance of progress

    3 out of 4 is not bad Phil...

  • Comment number 76.

    As a gooner I watch spurs and weep. They are the best cup team I've ever seen. I think they are going to win the Champions League.

    Any player Harry makes an offer to this January, would be a fool to knock him back. A real chance to play with a team that can win the Champions League without you, is a once in a lifetime offer.
    Andy Carroll, don't miss you're chance, go with Harry.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think what should be noted is that both Arsenal and Man U both initially struggled when entering the CL. Both failed to get through either opening rounds or initial group stages while Tottenham have made it look relatively easy. Also, what about other teams from England that have qualified ? Newcastle, Blackburn what was their first (only) season like?

    Credit to Sir Harry, be really is the real deal !!

  • Comment number 78.

    Progression from what initially appeared to be a very difficult group before Manu U and Arsenal have progressed from their seemingly easier groups must demand some respect.


    I think you'll find United are already through as well. Spurs have done well so far and not many I can see are knocking them for it but their group was not that hard either. Inter are the current European Champions admittedly but this seasons team compared to last seasons is a shambles (the Benitez effect), hence why their 7th in what for the last 5 years has been a 1 horse race. Werder Bremen are 12th in Germany and injury ravaged and Twente are average at best.

    Spurs have played well and fully deserve to go through as group winners but as i've said, their weak defence could be their achilles heel. If they get the likes of Dawson or King back things could change though. It'll be intersting to see what happens in the knock-out stages.

  • Comment number 79.

    It's a joy to see Tottenham play with such swagger and attacking spirit, it's a far cry to maybe 3-4 years ago when we would continually lose heart and end up getting pressed in.
    Our Europe success so far is fantastic for anyone to see; for those who have followed Spurs all their lives it's unbelievably exciting, and there is a promise of more to come.
    However we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. The best thing would be to keep it in perspective - in all likelihood, we will probably face a team like Real Madrid or someone of similar quality in the knockout phase and go out. What we must do is try though, because on our day we can beat anyone, and I mean anyone. Even the giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
    Top priority is qualifying again for Champions League, and hopefully the break over Christmas before the knockout stages will help us put together a string of Premier League wins, because so far we haven't been consistent enough. To lose to West Ham, Wigan and Bolton is not good enough, and we need to improve.
    But for now, let's enjoy it while we can!

  • Comment number 80.

    @45 - Brilliant comment!

  • Comment number 81.

    Spurs have done well, however Werder Bremen were massively depleted of their stars and this became a mismatch as a result.

    When Spurs go to the Nou Camp, Bernabeu(?) or the San Siro and win in a knock out phase then they will be feared.

    As an Arsenal fan i'm happy that we qualify every year and Spurs fans might want to make sure they have a team guaranteed of 4th place every season before making bold statements about how great they are in Europe. Personally i'd rather get to the knock out stage every year then have one day in the sun only to play in the poor quality Europa League next season.

    Spurs have some top players but defensively the best teams in Europe will punish them, same as Arsenal :-(

  • Comment number 82.

    I think in the bigger picture Spurs may be better offif they get knocked out at the next stage then they can focus on qualifying again next season, Having a good run can put a huge strain on the squad in other competitions and i think its better to make sure you qualify again the next season and come back stronger.

    As a leeds fan when we were in the CL it was the best season ive ever watched but looking back cant help think that if we hadnt made it so far we would have picked up that extra couple have points in the league to qualify again the next year.

  • Comment number 83.

    "The way Inter Milan raced into a 4-0 lead in the San Siro can be used as a suitable check should anyone in the Spurs camp care to get carried away."

    You're missing the whole raison d'être for being a Spurs fan Phil. We are totally accustomed to leading by three and then shipping four; we're also (esp. this season) used to coming from two, three goals down and winning. It's the drama and unpredictability that is one of the things we love most about our team - to dare is to do and all that - and it makes for entertaining viewing for the neutral. We will get carried away because hey...we're in the knock-out stages of the Champions cool is that? Whatever happens we've more than acquitted ourselves in our maiden CL campaign, and we'll have a crack whoever we play and whatever the result.

  • Comment number 84.

    Not again! Please calm down Phil...

    Like any football fan I've been very impressed with Spurs this year but stop doing what all journalists in this country do by bigging up a team on the back of a few good results!

    Are Spurs good enough to compete with the best in Europe? Yes. Will teams like Real, Barcelona and dare I say it, Manchester United, be afraid of Spurs in the CL? Of course not.

    Spurs are playing well and look good, but stop refering to their burgeoning reputation in Europe when it's their first CL experience. They're more likely to do well without the media expecting too much too early!

  • Comment number 85.

    Neutral fan in peace (honest). Too many 'excitables' on here.

    What were Spurs fans expecting? To get to the group stages. Job done.
    Arsenal fans? Expecting Spurs to get knocked out early.

    Realistically, all four EPL teams that qualify for the CL get through the group. Our league IS that good. If it had been Liverpool instead of Spurs then the press would have been crying if they hadn't made it. And Spurs are BETTER than Liverpool...

    I think Spurs can take on any team in the CL but getting a result over two legs isn't always easy and you do need experience.
    Juggling a Premiership/CL assault isn't easy and you need .... experience.

    So why is HR talking up Spurs' chances of both? Frivolous at best or downright stupid (unless he's planning to sign Sandra to 'do a job for him' in January ;) )

    As for the other lot across town. Spurs fans should be crossing their fingers for them. They need them to get through to keep a CL knockout-stage clash alive.

    After all, what's the point in your rivals losing if you can't deliver the fatal blow yourself?

  • Comment number 86.

    Congratulations to Spurs, but I think a bit of perspective is required here.

    Inter Milan: Currently 6th in Serie A and 9 points behind AC. Bearing in mind that Inter have easily won the League for the previous 5 seasons Benitez has clearly lost it. The FACTS do not look good.

    Having said that Tottenham managed to put six infamous goals past them, while playing decent, attacking and entertaining football. Spurs have been regularly outscoring their opponents this year and if the likes of Bale (world class form at them moment without a doubt), VDV and Defoe stay fit then there is no need for a change of tactics.

    Yes Tottenham will concede a lot of goals, but I have a feeling that they will score a lot more. Crucially they can do this away from home... including 3 at the San Siro and 3 at the Emirates. Away goals in the CL are of massive important and Spurs have proved they have what it takes to score them!

    P: 5 F: 15 A: 8 (4 of these in one game)
    (Arsenal have scored 15, Valencia 14, Bayern 13, Chelsea 14, Real Madrid 11, Barcelona 12) Spurs are up there mixing it with the best!

    Bigger tests will come but Tottenham could be the dark horse of the Champions League this year!!!

  • Comment number 87.

    Good blog - its all set up nicely for Spurs to be brought crashing back down to earth. An Inter Milan in chaos domestically and a Werder side who showed potential but were reasonably lucky to qualify at all this time round, together with a relatively average Twente side are all far from evidence of Spurs being a great side.

    Wow, they beat Arsenal. So did Braga, who have been absolutely woeful this season.

    As long as Bale continues to play as well as he does, then Spurs should probably make the quarters - without Bale however this Spurs team is pretty ordinary and long term that will become clear I think. In the meantime they can look towards Leeds I guess as their inspiration for an above average team making a deep run in the Champions League.

    Spurs fans should definitely enjoy the ride though as as soon as they lose Bale, they wont be tasting this success again for a long time (or at least until the next rich Middle Eastern man comes along and buys the club).

  • Comment number 88.

    #15 - it is a European competition. I don't want to see a European competition where teams from only 3 nations compete (Italy, Spain, England). That would be worse than the 'World Series' for American Sports which normally result in matches between American and Canadian sides. Yes the level of some of the teams is questionnable but only through regular exposure (and increased financial muscle sadly) will this change.

    #60 - that is a pathetic view. Are you suggesting the likes of Roma are not a European name? I would say Arsenal are a force in the current age (in the last few seasons it's taken the likes of United and Barca to put them out in the knockout phases). Would you argue that Ajax are a force based on current performance? I think all these sides deserve respect.

    As for the talk on Spurs, they have certainly exceeded my expectations and good luck to them. I thought they'd be undone defensively by this point (and still feel this could undermine them as the competition progresses). Still it's always nice to see surprise packages and new blood in the knock-outs. I also believe deep down everyone loves a team that plays with a 'we'll score more than you' attitude. I think some suggestions here are premature though - February is a long way off, and form could falter by then (or further injuries could happen).

    By the way, would anyone else agree with this statement: Man Utd are one of (if not the) smartest club (on the pitch) in the competition.

    I say this as I am increasingly of the view that man for man they are not (with the exception of a few players) near the level of some of the other teams in the Champs League. They exude know-how in every match to avoid defeat without ever hitting top gear. It has been years now that people have stated United are winning without playing well - I'm not sure how capable we are at present of playing well (in the full blooded attacking sense of old) - we play intelligent football instead.

    We know how to nullify star opposition players well, we know when to hold the ball and when and where on the pitch to let opposition teams keep it, and we know how to try alternative modes of attack (flanks, triangles arond the D, good support from the midfield). I believe that had Rafael not unfairly been sent off last year they would have beaten Bayern and gone on to win the whole thing. They always seem to know how to approach opposition sides - and I think that Fergie and the older players deserve a lot of credit for this. I expect a lot more 1-0s and 2-1s this season - it's a little like the team of the mid 90s.

    Sorry for hijacking the Spurs thread. Once again, well done.

  • Comment number 89.

    With the January transfer window coming up Spurs have the foundations to go out and strengthen their squad, in particular I think their back line could use a couple of quality additions.

    With the attacking flair and quality Spurs hold, a stronger backline would enhance their chances of becoming a genuine Champions League contender.

    Van der Vaart, Modric, Defoe and of course Bale can score goals and cut open any defence on even their best day.

  • Comment number 90.

    All you jealous gooners keep banging on about getting KOd by the first decent team we meet.

    Can someone please tell me exactly who these TOP TEAMS are ?? Real and Barca 100 % but who else ?

    would i be overly worried if we got Roma, Valencia, Munich, Arsenal ????

    No i wouldnt

    Barca or Real will win the CL but the rest are all easily beatable


  • Comment number 91.

    Spurs need fit centrebacks to truly compete for the CL. I think they have a great chance of getting as far as even the semis but I do think that if they play a team like Real, Barca, Bayern etc they will come unstuck. Rafa's Inter are most certainly not Mourinho's Inter, I feel that last years team would have definitely won both matches against Spurs. I just don't think they have the overall quality of some of the other teams although their squad, at least attacking and midfield wise is extremely strong. Will be interesting to see the draw.

    Anyway, as much as it pains me to say it, cracking effort Spurs and good luck.

  • Comment number 92.

    Got to put a few quid on Liverpool beating them on Sunday now
    Come on Bremen were way under strength, I wonder whether the 'Chief' football writer writes these articles intending to wind everyone up
    Does anyone know how much debt Spurs have got and how much their wage bill is. They have got 'a lot' of reasonable players and of course many are not happy. Redknapp is the boom and bust of football. They've risen too fast, they will fall just as quickly
    There's a skeleton in the cupboard at Spurs I'm sure

  • Comment number 93.

    87. At 11:12am on 25 Nov 2010, SCL wrote:
    Wow, they beat Arsenal. So did Braga, who have been absolutely woeful this season.

    As long as Bale continues to play as well as he does, then Spurs should probably make the quarters - without Bale however this Spurs team is pretty ordinary and long term that will become clear I think. In the meantime they can look towards Leeds I guess as their inspiration for an above average team making a deep run in the Champions League.

    Spurs fans should definitely enjoy the ride though as as soon as they lose Bale, they wont be tasting this success again for a long time (or at least until the next rich Middle Eastern man comes along and buys the club).
    You can't be being serious to suggest that because Braga beat Arsenal, it makes the achievement for us to beat them worse? It's a completely different game, mindset etc and they're out rivals who we haven't beaten away in 17 years, so what you're saying is rubbish.

    Who's to say we can't do well without Bale? Are you a mindreader?

    Lennon looked like his good old self last and as for Modric and VDV, well, I don't even need to mention them - top class. Even players like Kranjcar who came on for a few minutes last night looked good, and once players like Ledley, Hudd come back (who is our true captain let's not forget) and sure up the defence we will look a MUCH better team, even the stand-in players have stepped up, Kaboul, Gallas etc.

    So for you to say that is absolute rubbish and I was just wondering where you got your psychic knowledge from?

  • Comment number 94.

    Job done...for now. Spurs are great to watch in full flow. Yet the proof will be in the eating i.e. how they cope in turgid and tight matches. We know its taken them 68 odd games to win away in the PL against the big 4. Next up in the CL will be any of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, ManU, Chelsea,Arsenal etc. While Spurs are on a learning curve in this competition they will have to check on theit laissez faire attitude to playing football and wise up fast. Winning things isn't about just playing total football but being able to be pitch-wise, smash and grab and play percentages. Don't know whether they have that sort of guile in their game yet.

    The first big test will be away to Twente. That game and result will show us what they have in the locker to their future chances. Certainly a certain amount of liuck will help. For Spurs just now read Dutch football and African nations playing in the World Cup--lovely to watch but is there a killer instinct there?

  • Comment number 95.

    Spurs away form will cost them this season , WHL is a formidable place to come for anyone as shown with Inter. However inter arent exactly as good as they were last season and alot easier to beat then they were under jose .

    All credit to spurs they have shown this season they can make it in Europe's elite competion but i think spurs will get to last 8 max but maybe with a bit of luck which plays a big part in the competion they could go even further

  • Comment number 96.

    Buy Cahill from Bolton and get Dawson and Huddlestone back and the spurs have a chance of mounting a huge attack on both the pl title and the champions league!

  • Comment number 97.

    #90 - quite a world view you have there.

    ECL Year - Winner - Runner up
    2010 - Inter Milan - Bayern Munich
    2009 - Barcelona - Man Utd
    2008 - Man Utd - Chelsea
    2007 - AC Milan - Liverpool
    2006 - Barcelona - Arsenal
    2005 - Liverpool - AC Milan
    2004 - Porto - Monaco
    2003 - Milan - Juventus
    2002 - Real Madrid - Leverkusen
    2001 - Bayern Munich - Valencia

    Spanish sides have made it to the final 4 times in the last 10 years (winners 3 times), English sides have made it 5 times (winners 2 times), Italians 4 times (winners 3 times), Germans 3 times (winners once), Portugese and French (once each).

    I think the lessons are:

    1) The pot of contenders is a bit wider than Real and Madrid, however good and well fancied they may be
    2) The strongest team doesn't always win (Porto 04, Liverpool 07, Inter 10)

    If I were Spurs, I would be worried about meeting Valencia and Bayern, they more than have it in them to cut you open. I would also hate meeting Arsenal if I were you (if you lose, the bragging would never end). I always fancied United if we met Liverpool, but don't doubt the gratitude I had when Chelsea put them out in 2008. The thought of losing to them on that stage does not bear thinking about. The thought of winning does though ;)

  • Comment number 98.

    Spurs are a decent team who have put in some good performances have some great players - bale, vdv, modric - my only worry for them is if they meey a barca, man u or chelsea - who are a class above. admittedly, not many teams will want to face spurs, but given a choice between them and a top european side for my team chelsea, i know who i'd pick. also werder and twente are hardly champions league quality, they just play in poor leagues.

  • Comment number 99.

    a team that can't defend stand no chance in europe, be realistic in future

  • Comment number 100.

    To correct my previous post, I meant Real and Barca. In addition, #94, you'll most likely avoid those team, most will have topped the group (I'm still not sure how Arsenal have fluffed their lines). Might not be a bad thing for them to drop into the Europa - they'd have a very good chance in that competition of ending their wait for a trophy.


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