Spurs hero Eriksen: We have nothing to fear against Chelsea at Wembley
PUBLISHED: 12:09 29 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:55 29 January 2015
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Tottenham hero Christian Eriksen says the 5-3 victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day banished Spurs’ fears about facing the top teams after his dramatic late strike secured a League Cup final against the Blues at Wembley.
The Lilywhites appeared to be coasting through the second leg of their semi-final at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane last night, with Eriksen’s first-half free kick giving the visitors a 2-0 aggregate lead.
However, the League One outfit struck in the 77th and 79th minutes to level the tie, and extra time beckoned – until Eriksen hit a trademark 88th-minute winner and book a showdown with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in a replay of the 2008 final, when Spurs last lifted a trophy.
This time last month, Tottenham might have gone into the final as underdogs, having suffered heavy defeats in their clashes with the Blues, Manchester City and Liverpool in the previous 14 months – including a 3-0 defeat to Mourinho’s side at Stamford Bridge in December.
But Spurs triumphed 5-3 in the return fixture at White Hart Lane on January 1, and Eriksen says Spurs have nothing to fear against the Premier League leaders at Wembley.
“I think what we showed against Chelsea gave us a lot of confidence, after the other games against the bigger teams,” he said. “There were times before that we got beaten really badly, so of course that gave us a lot of confidence and a bit of a boost that we can still beat them. I don’t think we should be scared of anyone.
“That win gave us belief, but it’s going to be a new game, it’s going to be a final, on a different pitch.
“It would mean a lot to win my first trophy in England, at Wembley. It will be an exciting time. Hopefully it will be a nice game and we will be celebrating at the end.
“Everybody here wants to win something. When you play at Ajax you play to win as well, and here we are in a final so we definitely want to win.”
Tottenham went into last night’s second leg after a disappointing FA Cup exit at the hands of Premier League basement boys Leicester City on Saturday.
Spurs appeared to be heading through to the next round that day, leading 1-0 in the 82nd minute through Andros Townsend’s penalty, only to concede twice in the final six minutes and bow out of the competition.
History was nearly repeated last night as Spurs threw away a 2-0 aggegate lead in the space of three minutes at Bramall Lane, with 18-year-old Che Adams netting a quickfire brace with his first two goals for the Blades.
It could have got worse as Louis Reed fired over Michel Vorm’s crossbar in the closing stages.
But, instead, Harry Kane freed Eriksen at the other end and - having previously scored decisive late goals against Hull, Swansea and Sunderland - the Dane coolly finished past Mark Howard to hit his 10th goal of the season.
“We started well and they didn’t have any chances until they scored,” said the matchwinner. “Then they came back and that gave them a big confidence boost. We had to show some character and we’ve done it before and luckily we came back.
“We’re on the right path and we’re getting closer to one of the trophies, but I still think we need to improve. We started well and then gave away stupid goals, and we’ve done that a few times. Luckily we came back again, but maybe we won’t always be that lucky.
“Were we thinking about the defeat against Leicester towards the end? No, it’s a new game, it’s always different. Leicester was a different game - although they also came back. Luckily we turned it around this time and it gives us a better feeling from Saturday, definitely.
“It doesn’t really matter when or how but the ball went in at the end, we’ve got a place at Wembley so we’re very happy.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs