On the back of Spurs’ run to the Champions League Quarter Finals, Peter Crouch has announced his belief that they can overtake their North London rivals before long.
Spurs saw off AC Milan last week thanks to Crouch’s first leg goal in the San Siro, while Arsenal crashed out against Barcelona for the second year running. The ex-Liverpool man has plenty of Champions League experience and believes there is a feeling that the team’s success could signal a shift in the balance of power in North London. “The
After years of playing second fiddle to the Gunners, Crouch is delighted at the progress the club have made under Harry Redknapp. While acknowledging that they still have a fair distance to go, the lanky hitman is glad to see their hard work starting to pay dividends, and believes there is more to come. “We have wanted to get as close to Arsenal as possible. They are still ahead of us in the league, but we are getting a lot closer and soon we will be above them in the league. Hopefully, we’ll keep doing better than them in the Champions League as well,” he cheekily added.
Redknapp’s boys will find out the identity of their next opponents of their opponents this Friday. Despite still being considered outsiders, Spurs are unlikely to be fazed by anything the draw could throw at them, having seen off both the Milan giants and come through a tricky group stage with some scintillating home displays.
Crouch insisted that despite no same-country separation for the draw, the magic of the Champions League does not lie in clashes with English rivals, and would prefer to avoid Chelsea and Manchester United, should they qualify. “The whole thing about playing in Europe is playing against big European teams and, if we can avoid the other English teams, it would be better.”
Spurs legend Gary Lineker believes Spurs are capable of winning the Champions League. Lineker has been impressed by Spurs’ run and admits he was surprised by their resilience and strength in their 0-0 draw with Milan. Harking back to some of the unlikely winners of the past, he wrote in his News of The World column: “It is not impossible for Spurs to win the Champions League. But, delighted as I am by their progress, it is highly unlikely,” before adding: “This competition has thrown up unlikely winners – the Inter side of last year fit that description, as well as Porto in 2004.”
While Lineker accepts that Spurs being the first London club to win the Champions League is unlikely, he believes that given a kind draw they may be able to progress further. The key to this may well be avoiding one of Lineker’s former clubs in the Quarter Finals, Barcelona. “If Spurs draw Barcelona I could not see any way over two legs that they could beat them. And I would say the same for most sides. But if they pull out Shakhtar Donetsk or Schalke 04 in the next round they would have a great chance of reaching the semis. Then you never know.”