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Lads can handle big stage - Rafa

Posted on 9 March 2011  - 12:00

Rafa van der Vaart is convinced the lads can handle the pressure of one of the club's biggest-ever games against AC Milan tonight.

Lads can handle big stage - Rafa

Rafa van der Vaart is convinced the lads can handle the pressure of one of the club's biggest-ever games against AC Milan tonight.

The Italian giants and current Serie A leaders travel to the Lane for the second leg of our Champions League, last 16 tie as we play for a place in the quarter-finals.

We hold a 1-0 advantage after a fantastic performance in the San Siro on February 15 and Rafa believes the bigger the stage, the bigger the performance from his team-mates.

“I always try to help on the pitch because I have experience in the Champions League,” said Rafa. “But these players have been in the Premier League, the biggest league in the world with the biggest games and a lot of pressure.

“So we are used to playing with pressure. Pressure is nice, we need that, and I felt when we played away in Milan we did fantastic so I have a good feeling and a lot of confidence.

“I’m fit, I’m happy and really excited because it’s a big game and a big night for Tottenham.”


The Dutch star faced the media on Tuesday and was asked for his thoughts on a number of topics.

Here are the highlights.

Rafa on - tonight's match...

"It’s going to be hard. They know now we have a good team and can play well. It’s one game to go, they will give everything. I have a feeling we will reach our level have a good chance to win the game. We want to attack, not defend. We have a great attacking team so we have to do that."

Rafa on - accusations of us being a long-ball team, and Peter Crouch...

"I think we can play really good football, not just long balls, but when Crouch is playing then it’s normal we try to reach him because he’s a big guy. I’m always behind him and I’ve already scored six or seven times when he put the ball down. I’m always there. It’s our quality and it’s really hard to defend."

Rafa on - AC midfielder Clarence Seedorf...

"I played for Ajax with his younger brother so I knew him very well. He is an example for all of us, he was won the Champions League four times and that is unbelievable. It’s an honour to play against him and it’s nice because our family are still in contact."

Rafa on - Zlatan Ibrahimovic...

"I played with Ibrahimovic (at Ajax). At that time he was young and I was young but now he is one of the best strikers in the world. He's so strong. He's a big guy but also has a lot of technique and I like to watch him because he's important for Milan. The same with Crouch. It's a different style but his qualities are more important for me and for the whole team."

Rafa on - his Champions League record...

"Once I reached the quarter-final with Ajax and we lost to AC Milan in the last minute. It was really a pity because we had a young team - Pienaar, me, Sneijder, Mido. We had a great team. It was a long time ago, 2003, it was a great year for Ajax. When I went to Real Madrid I thought 'now it's going to happen, I'm going to play in a Champions League Final', but then we lost against Lyon and Liverpool. I was really disappointed. I hope we can beat Milan now and then we are in the quarter-final. Now I hope I do something with Tottenham."