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Fri 17 September 2021, 16:15|Tottenham Hotspur

Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg has highlighted the important role of our fans as we take on Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday (4.30pm).

Always one of the biggest fixtures on the calendar, Chelsea arrive in N17 as European champions and UEFA Super Cup winners, with three wins and a draw so far in the Premier League and victory over Zenit in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

We’ve had a tough week after a perfect start to the domestic campaign. Missing six players after the international break, then losing Eric Dier after 15 minutes and having Japhet Tanganga sent off, we lost that 100 per cent record at Palace last week. We then lost two more players - Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura - as we fought out a 2-2 draw against Stade Rennais in our UEFA Europa Conference League opener on Thursday evening.

As this huge derby approaches, Pierre, who earned that draw with our second goal in Rennes, is looking for the same synergy between the team and fans that counted for so much in our opening weekend victory over champions Manchester City.

We need to stay positive... we have to believe in what we do and who we are

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

“Chelsea are a fantastic team, they’ve showed that with the results, with the investments they’ve made, they’ve done incredible,” said Pierre. “But we are there, we are ready. We’re at home in our beautiful stadium with our fans, let’s say, putting on all the pressure they can, and we’ll do the same on the pitch. We’re ready for a massive fight.”

It was put to Pierre that the squad and Nuno Espirito Santo’s coaching team must feel things are somewhat conspiring against us with injuries stacking up in the last week or so, on top of the unavailability of Gio Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez after they played World Cup qualifiers in South America. Thankfully, they will now be available, if selected, to face Chelsea.

Pierre added: “We need to stay positive and focus on what we can keep improving, this is most important. The players who are maybe sidelined or not 100 per cent, they are doing their best behind closed doors to get fully fit. Sometimes it’s part of football but it gives opportunities to other players and the rest of the squad to show the depth and the character in the squad.

“There is only one way and that’s to continue fighting and doing the things that we can improve on. We have to believe in what we do and who we are. There is a long way to go. I like the phrase, ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’, and this is truly what we’re working on.”

Spurs TV - Pierre in Rennes