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Key battle: Teemu Tainio on Eremenko v Wanyama

Posted on 27 September 2016  - 15:15

CSKA Moscow have one of Finland’s top talents in the their midst and Roman Eremenko helps make the Moscow side tick. How to stop him? Imagine if we could ask a former holding midfielder who played for Spurs and Finland?

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Teemu Tainio

teemu_new200x300 83 appearances for Spurs, 2005-08
League Cup winner in 2008
18-year playing career with spells in Finland, France, UK, USA and Holland
Capped 64 times by Finland

Eremenko ‘can deliver killer passes’

Teemu: “Roman Eremenko is an excellent player and a player I believe could play in any of the top leagues in Europe. The number 10 position suits him well because he makes passes and scores goals. He’s very good with the ball, clever and has a strong right foot. He loves to try his luck as well and as soon as he gets a chance to shoot, he will take shots on.

“If you had to look at weaknesses, perhaps it’s his pace, but he turns quickly and the most important thing in that position is that he can see and deliver the killer passes. That’s what he’s very good at.”

Below: Eremenko scores for CSKA against Bayer Leverkusen

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Close down the space

Teemu: “As is the case with all number 10s, especially in the Champions League, you have to watch him closely. The important thing is not to allow him too much space because he will use the ball well and can make things happen. If it was me, I’d just say at the start of the  game ‘I’m going to have you in my pocket!’ but in all seriousness, I don’t think you have to man-mark him or anything like that and you come up against players in that role throughout the Champions League.

“One thing I would say though for the holding midfielders is don’t let him get in the space in behind or in those lines between defence and midfield. That’s where he’ll be most dangerous.”

Below: Eremenko celebrates another goal for CSKA

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‘He’s Finland’s best player’

Teemu: “We don’t see a lot of Russian club football in Finland, but I can say he’s done well for the Finland national team. He’s our best player at the moment but the problem is he wants to do too much. There is pressure on him. He’s always looking to get on the ball, always looking to make things happen but we need some other guys to step up as well.”

Below: Teemu celebrates his goal at West Ham in 2006

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‘I’m confident we’ll progress’

Teemu: “Unfortunately, I didn’t see the game at Wembley, but I saw the result. I was a little surprised, but okay, that’s the first game out of the way. Now we know what we have to do. We can certainly get out of the group. It has become a little more complicated after losing the first game but I’m confident that we’ll progress.”