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Nielsen recalls '97 Schmeichel battle

Posted on 17 June 2015  - 16:41

Former midfielder Allan Nielsen remembers keeping Danish compatriot Peter Schmeichel on his toes when we met Manchester United on the opening day of the 1997-98 campaign!

Allan Nielsen and United's Peter Schmeichel in August, 1997Allan challenges David Beckham in that match

A key figure in our midfield when we hosted the Red Devils at White Hart Lane on August 10, 1997, Allan was one of a number of players to go close for us as we chased an opening day victory.

Debutant Les Ferdinand and defender Ramon Vega also caused the visitors problems with United goalkeeper Schmeichel, a team-mate of Allan’s in the Danish national team, forced to stay alert as we tried to break through.

As it transpired, two goals in a minute at the other end – a Nicky Butt effort and a Vega own goal – in the closing stages saw United run out victorious while ex-Spur Teddy Sheringham missed a penalty.

Despite the eventual disappointment of losing the game, Allan was reminded of our collective efforts to beat Schmeichel when today’s announcement of the 2015-16 Premier League fixtures saw us once again paired with United on the opening day – this time at Old Trafford.

“Peter made some great saves in that game – I remember that!” said the 44-year-old, recalling our 1997 curtain-raiser. “I had a good opportunity in front of goal and I think I had one header in particular which Peter saved well – it probably should have gone in.

“One thing is for sure – we were not nervous about playing Manchester United and we were up for the challenge.

“It’s always nice when you have a big game to start with because everyone is looking forward to it, all the preparations have been made and every player is focused.

“The manager and the coaching staff don’t have to say anything in that situation because everyone knows that the team needs to perform.

“Manchester United on the opening day is a huge game and it’s the same this year. It’s a good opportunity for Spurs.”

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Check out our provisional 2015-16 Premier League fixtures here.