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Over-used Mertesacker in need of rest

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Van der Vaart ready to go direct

Rafael van der Vaart has no problem with Tottenham playing long-ball football against AC Milan on Wednesday if it helps the club reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Spurs will make it through to the last eight of the competition if they avoid defeat against the seven-time European champions at White Hart Lane after their first-leg victory in the San Siro three weeks ago.

Part of the club's success this season has been down to the strike partnership of Van der Vaart and Peter Crouch, with the latter providing valuable knock-downs to help the Dutchman to bag 12 goals this year.

Milan forward Robinho had claimed that Tottenham's success owed much to hitting long balls to the towering hitman, something which Van der Vaart admits has brought the club rewards this year.

He says there is nothing wrong with the tactic, though, insisting that the club should continue to use it if it brings victories.

"When Crouch is playing then it's normal we try to reach him because he's a big guy and I'm always behind him," Van der Vaart said.

"I've already scored six or seven times when he put the ball down, I'm always there.'It's our quality and it's really hard to defend. We want to reach the final and if it's with long balls then it's with long balls.

"I have a feeling we will reach our level have a good chance to win the game. We want to attack, not defend. We have a great attacking team so we have to do that tomorrow."

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