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Blog - FIFA
By ESPN Staff

Huddlestone eyes Group A summit

Tom Huddlestone has urged Tottenham to seize control of Champions League Group A on Wednesday night by beating FC Twente at White Hart Lane.

• Preview: Tottenham v FC Twente
• Spurs face injury crisis
• Spurs blog: European headaches

Both of the opening fixtures in the group earlier this month ended in 2-2 draws, meaning Wednesday's game is the perfect chance for Spurs to take an outright lead over their rivals.

On paper, the home meeting with the Dutch champions is the easiest of Tottenham's six Group A clashes and midfielder Huddlestone believes it is the ideal opportunity to lay down a marker.

Huddlestone said: "Obviously, Twente and Inter (Milan) drew their first game, so we've got a chance to take the initiative and hopefully be top of the group.''

Failure to take all three points could leave Spurs facing an uphill task to qualify but Huddlestone is wary of dubbing the match a must-win game.

"It's only the second out of six games, so I don't think it's must-win at the minute,'' he said. "But, before the tournament, you looked to probably win your three home games and if you can nick a couple of points away from home, then it's more than likely that you'll qualify.''

Huddlestone could captain Spurs if Ledley King fails to recover from knee and groin injuries. And the midfielder believes he is thriving with the extra responsibility of being one of the side's leaders.

"The manager said recently we are a fairly quiet team,'' Huddlestone said. "Obviously, I'm getting older now and playing more games. I think the confidence comes with that and becoming a leader.''

It would be an historic occasion to wear the armband, with Spurs hosting their first game in the European Cup proper for almost half a century.

Huddlestone said: "I've played a few European games at the Lane and the atmosphere's always special, and it seems to be raised an extra 15-20% for night games. As we saw for the second leg of the Young Boys game, the atmosphere was very good and it got us through.''

Manager Harry Redknapp is also enjoying the thrills and spills of Champions League football, claiming it was on a different planet to the Europa League.

"People don't take the Europa League the same as the Champions League, do they?'' he said. "Everyone wants to get in the Europa League; when they get in, they want to get out of it. Whereas the Champions League is special.''

Redknapp admitted Spurs' Premier League form had suffered as a result of the mental comedown his players had experienced after Champions League games.

He added: "A lot of it is physical as well. We go to Inter Milan on a Wednesday night, we get back here Thursday, we play Everton 12pm on Saturday. It's not easy, is it?''

Twente forward Bryan Ruiz has urged his side to "be smart'' at White Hart Lane.

He said: "How can we be smart? Just by keeping the ball, don't let them play, press them when we can, try to score the chances we create. Because in this kind of match sometimes there are not many chances to score. So we have to be good when we have those chances.''


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