Dele hungry for Champions League return and more squad views on Real Madrid
31 October 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli says he’s been counting down the weeks until his potential return to Champions League action against Real Madrid, while Ben Davies is determined to make up for missing our draw in the Bernabeu when we host the La Liga giants at Wembley Stadium, connected by EE on Wednesday.
Midfielder Dele is eligible to feature in Europe for the first time this season against Zinedine Zidane’s men after serving a three-game UEFA ban following his sending-off against KAA Gent in the Europa League last term.
Naturally, he’s itching to get back into action – as is left-back Ben, who was laid low with illness when we travelled to Madrid a fortnight ago. The pair, along with Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen, have been sharing their views on another mammoth game…
On his return to the Champions League fray
“I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously it’s been hard to be sitting on the sidelines watching and knowing that you can’t play but the team have been doing really well so hopefully I can get on the pitch. I’ve been looking forward to this one since the start of the season, counting each game and ticking them off the list as we’ve been going along so I’m happy my ban is over now and it’s a massive game to be coming back into. I went to watch the boys at the Bernabeu and I thought we were amazing. It’s a difficult place to go and to get a result there was massive credit to the boys, so hopefully I can help the team as much as I can and be a part of this one.”
On the exciting, young talent among Real Madrid’s squad
“Marco Asensio is making a name for himself, he’s a really good player and he plays in a similar area to me so hopefully we might get a chance to play against each other. It’ll be good to be up against him. As a team, we always want to be testing ourselves against the best players in the world and that’s what they’ve got there. It’s a great game to be a part of.”
On gaining confidence from our draw in Madrid
“Obviously it’s down to the manager to choose the tactics but it will definitely give the boys confidence going into the game, knowing that we can compete against them and that we are a really strong side. We go into every game looking to win and it’s not going to be any different just because we’re playing Real Madrid, although I think we have to be focused a lot more. If you make any mistakes, they’re going to punish you so it’s important that we say switched on through the whole game and play as well as we know we can because I think the boys showed in the last fixture that if we play well and stick to the game plan, anything is possible.”
On missing the last match at the Bernabeu through illness
“I was completely wiped out. I watched it from home but I would have loved to have been out there. You can imagine what it was like to have to watch it. I thought we were great, didn’t look too threatened and it was a pleasure to watch.”
Thoughts going into this game
“We’re in a great position in the group and we’ve got nothing to lose. There is no reason why we shouldn’t put in another performance and try to get another positive result. It’s a huge game and one every player wants to be involved in. We’ve got to put a performance in so we can all hold our heads high after the game. We’ll go into it with belief and the feeling we can get a result. We played so well in the Bernabeu and there is no reason why we can’t do it again.”
Thoughts on our opponents
“Real Madrid have a very good team and everybody on the outside knows the whole squad – not just the starting XI but the 16 or 20 players that they have. They showed how good they are last year by winning the Champions League and it’s still largely the same set of players there so nothing has changed. I think their whole team is in a good way and we have to take a good look at ourselves to beat them. We’ll see what happens.”
On how the game could pan out
“I think Real will probably play the same way (to how they did two weeks ago). Maybe they underestimated us a bit then but they know now how we are and how we can play if you let us have too much time and space, so I think it will be a similar game. I believe it depends on who scores first really. Whoever does that will probably have the best chance of winning.”
On playing at Wembley compared to the Bernabeu
“The pitch is almost the same size as at the Bernabeu, only now we are at home and that could make a big difference to the way we feel during the game. You notice the way that Wembley is built differently to the Bernabeu – it’s wider with a bit more space but it’s a top international stadium with the capacity to hold so many people so it will be a cracking atmosphere and hopefully it will be a fun night.”
On our preparations for the match
“We’ve analysed the last game. Obviously they had their chances, but seeing the game back was good for us and made us actually realise that we could have won there. Seeing all the chances, seeing the possibilities, seeing the spaces helps us to take the confidence into this week’s game and the belief that we can beat them.”
On our development in Europe over the last two seasons
“In the Champions League you’ve got to put 100 per cent in every single game and every three points are as important. I think we’ve shown great quality through the three games this campaign and I think we’ve stepped up a level when you compare it to last year. Playing a home game against the champions of the Champions League is massive. Real Madrid are one of the biggest teams in the world and this is a very special game. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Coming to the game on Wednesday night? Be sure to read our important information for supporters here.
PICK UP YOUR SPECIAL EDITION CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MATCHDAY PROGRAMME!
Another UEFA Champions League A4 special edition of our official matchday programme will be on sale at Wembley on Wednesday evening, featuring:
- Main feature interview with Christian Eriksen
- Mauricio Pochettino’s exclusive programme column
- Michael Dawson remembers captaining us against Real Madrid in 2011
- Tottenham Tales: The Spurs careers of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale
- Marshes to Madrid: How Paul Miller and Mark Falco went from Hackney Marshes to the Bernabeu
- Interview with Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueño
- Discussion Panel: Dele Alli on returning to Champions League action
- Recalling the international matches between England and Spain at Wembley down the years
- Wembley Memories with former defender Phil Beal
All this and more is in Wednesday night's special A4 programme – buy yours from one of several points around Wembley Stadium, £5 for 100 pages. Alternatively, buy individual issues online here or subscribe for the season here.