Gomes: Sandro can be the new Dunga
Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has hailed the contribution of team-mate Sandro after his oustanding performance against AC Milan, comparing the Brazil midfielder to the Selecao's legendary 1994 World Cup-winning captain Dunga.
Despite Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart dominating the pre-match discussions, it was Sandro who received widespread acclaim after Wednesday's 0-0 draw, as Spurs progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals.
The midfielder showed a remarkably cool head in the last-16 first leg at the San Siro, breaking up Milan's play with aplomb, before delivering an equally tenacious performance at White Hart Lane.
After the second leg, Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was quick to lavish praise on the 21-year-old, who he signed for £6.5 million last year, describing his performance as "immense''.
Sandro has become a regular in the Brazil squad since Mano Menezes replaced Dunga as national team manager after the World Cup, and Gomes believes his team-mate deserves to be compared to the man who lifted the World Cup for the South Americans in 1994.
"Sandro is a good player, really quick. It's a great time for him at the moment,'' Gomes said. "I think he looks like Dunga when he played in midfield. He has quality, he can play as well, hold the ball and win it. He can play and has been brilliant for us.''
Sandro was left out of the original Spurs squad for the Champions League group stages, but was added to the list in January after Tom Huddlestone suffered a serious ankle injury in November.
He thinks the squad should have every reason to be optimistic of making the final at Wembley in May after seeing off Milan and champions Inter earlier in the campaign.
"It is a possibility and a dream for me to reach the final of the best competition in the world,'' Sandro said. "We got past Milan so why can't we get past other big clubs too?''
Tottenham's players were given no time to celebrate their famous passage to the last eight as they were called in for a warm-down at the club's training ground this morning.
Van der Vaart went straight down the tunnel after being withdrawn half-way through the second half last night, but it is understood the Dutchman did not suffer a recurrence of the calf injury which made him a doubt for Wednesday's clash and should be fit to face West Ham.
The team now have 10 days before the match against Redknapp's former team, but next Friday's quarter-final draw in Nyon will undoubtedly be at the forefront of their minds right now.
Potentially mouth-watering ties against Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester United could be in the offing, but the one team that Spurs are keen to avoid is Barcelona, who produced a master class in attacking football to knock out Arsenal on Tuesday.
"We will take anyone but Barcelona,'' said Gomes, who was proud of his two clean sheets against Milan. "It's not easy to keep a clean sheet against them because they have quality players. We defended well and attacked them when we had the chance.''
"Barca are as good a team as I've seen in my time in football, they're the team to beat for anybody,'' he said. "Anyone could win it, you never know - Jose (Mourinho) won it with Porto (in 2004) when they weren't expected to.
"The favourites are the two Spanish clubs (Barca and Real Madrid), there are two fantastic English clubs with Manchester United and Chelsea but we're in there, let's see where it takes us - it's been a great adventure and we want more of it, we want to see if we can go all the way.''