From Tottenham Hotspur


How do you feel being in the Champions League?

“I think it’s been a long time coming. Myself and the club have wanted to play at this level for a long time so we are delighted to finally be doing it.”

With each game you’re getting more respect?

“Of course. We were playing a good side. I’m not sure they knew too much about us or especially what it’s like to play at a place like White Hart Lane so we tried to come out and lift the tempo and see how they stood up to that from the start.  We want to win our games here so we’re delighted to have done it.”

How important is it that you take this form into the League?

“That’s what we’ve struggled to do in recent years, when we’ve been in Europe our league form has suffered, so that’s what  we want to put right this season.

“We had a disappointing result at the weekend, so it was important that we bounced back today, that we didn’t dwell on it and that we got the result we wanted, and now we will think about Saturday.

“We slipped up against Wigan. Losing that game gives us an incentive not to let that happen again.

“People are looking at us after our European games, the spotlight’s on us and teams are waiting for us to slip up and are saying ‘it’s the same old Tottenham’.

“We don’t want to be like that. We got a good result in the end against Wolves, we were disappointed against West Ham, now we’re at home again, to Villa and we want three points from our home games.”

What difference has Rafael van der Vaart made to the side?

“He’s a top player, you can see he’s played at the highest level. Firstly, he’s a good lad and he’s settled right in. We’ve got a good bunch of lads who make it easy for players to come in and enjoy themselves. And I thought he was brilliant against Twente.”

He’ll miss the Inter game but said he wants you to win it for him?

“We’ll try and do that. What a game to do that in. I thought he was brilliant in the first half. He kind of took the team by the scruff of the neck at times when things weren’t always working for us.

“You could see he wanted the ball and he wanted to make things happen and that rubbed off on us in the end.”

If he and Luka gel how strong could that make Spurs?

“Brilliant. I’ve seen them work together when they’re in the same team in training. They’re tough to get the ball off, they play little one-twos, their first touch is so good, they’re brilliant players and the more they play together I am sure the better it will be.

“They can open any defence and we’ve got players who can score. Jermain [Defoe] is injured but Pav showed again that he’s a goalscorer, he stepped up and put away his penalties. He’s a good lad. He doesn’t speak too much English but he has a joke in his own way and the lads appreciate that.

“It’s been tough for him at times, he’s had to sit on the bench, but when he plays he’s a goalscorer and he showed that tonight.


White Hart Lane, Tottenham Hotspur v FC Twente , UEFA Champions League Gp A 29/09/2010  Rafael van der Vaart of Tottenham reacts as he is sent off Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

“I thought the sending off was a bit harsh.  Twente are a good team, with some really good players.

“The message from the manager at half time was just to keep going to keep making chances and that they would go in.

“Its great to play in a stadium like this in front of a great crowd.

“I was pumped up after missing the penalty it was not a good moment for me.  I was disappointed for a few minutes but this is normal, I was hoping all the time that I could score a goal.

“I suppose missing the penalty drove me a bit harder. I was feeling great. I think the first yellow card was correct but I think the second one was a little bit unlucky. To get sent off was really disappointing.

“It’s Inter Milan next. I like to play in the big games and getting sent off means that I will miss it so I am really disappointed.

“Wesley [Sneijder] is a good friend of mine, we talk a lot and I was looking forward to playing against him but now I am going to miss playing against him.

“I might be sending Wesley some texts, I see him when we play national games, he is playing well and in great form for Inter.  He scored twice for Inter on Wednesday.

“There is a lot more to come out of this Tottenham side, we need a bit more consistency.

“When I scored it was such a relief for me after missing that penalty. I like to take penalties and I usually shoot well but today I was not so good, it was a good save but my kick was not so good.”


“We did create chances but we had to bide our time as first half it just wasn’t quite going in.  The manager asked us to keep going and keep concentrating at half-time.

“We just played the way we were playing because we had chances and it was a matter of taking them.  It could have gone the other way to be honest but I thought we dug in and deserved the win.

“Rafael has been magnificent since he has come in and is a top quality player.  He has fitted in straight away and you can tell that.  The sending off was disappointing, we will miss him but he has been fantastic since he has come in and given us some different options.”

“We battled so hard to get into the Champions League places because we want to go to the best clubs and stadiums like Inter Milan.  The San Siro is something the fans will be looking forward to and us players too.”
“We showed that the whole team deserves [other] teams to be scared of us and if we play like we did we don’t need to be scared of anyone in the Champions League.

“When I came here I joined Spurs to play big games, to play Champions League, to win trophies in England and I hope we are in the right way. You need to believe. If you don’t believe, you can never get anything. This team is definitely starting to get that belief now.”

“Inter Milan will be amazing for us to play against them.  We fancy our chances. Why not? We got three points at home to Twente and we are relaxed for that game. We don’t have anything to lose. We are looking forward to that game.

“We have confidence we will go through. We are in a good position now but there are still a lot of games to the end. We go game by game and see where we finish.”

“It was an unbelievable night for us. We led 2-0 and then we let them back in, which made it a little edgy for us. Even if we had one player less we played very well and deserved to win. Everything was perfect.

“When the ref sent off our player we showed character. We didn’t panic, we tried to play our game and scored two goals with one player less.”

“I think there was no doubt about the first two penalties.  The third one, I don’t know. It’s the referee’s decision but the first two I’m sure they were penalties.”

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