Eriksen will play for Spurs against Middlesbrough
DANISH midfielder Christian Eriksen will feature for Tottenham Hotspur in their FA Cup third round replay against Middlesbrough tonight despite being reported to be on the verge of joining Italian club Inter Milan, Spurs coach Jose Mourinho has said.
“Eriksen plays tomorrow. Every player we have has to be ready to help the team,” Mourinho told a news conference yesterday. “We are not in conditions to think about anything else than that.”
The 27-year-old Eriksen, out of contract in June, has suffered a dip in form this season with his future at the club unclear and was substituted during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.
As he walked off Eriksen, scorer of 51 goals in 223 Premier League games for Spurs, appeared to wave farewell to the fans.
Some fans have become irritated with Eriksen’s lacklustre displays this season and Mourinho acknowledges that the uncertainty about his future has been a factor in his struggles.
“One thing is to not put his best performance in but for so many reasons players all around the world have better seasons than other players,” he said.
“If you ask me the reasons, I am not an idiot, I have been in football many years. A player in this situation, even if he wants – and I am not criticising him – it’s normal a player in this situation doesn’t perform to the highest level.
“But he is helping us in matches he has played for us. He’s had positive performances and contributions like against Olympiacos and Norwich (City). He didn’t have a very good performance in the game against Liverpool, I have to agree with that.”
Mourinho preferred not to talk about the possibility of Benfica’s Gedson Fernandes arriving on loan, instead focussing on the replay with Championship side Middlesbrough after the original tie was drawn 1-1.
“The priority this month is to win tomorrow. Difficult match, Championship teams we know what they can do,” he said.
“We know what Fulham did to (Aston) Villa, what Leeds (United) almost did to Arsenal, what Middlesbrough did to us.”
STANDALONE South African race car maker Century scored an upset at the Dakar Rally when Frenchman Mattieu Serradori stormed to a convincing maiden stage win for the team over double world Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso and the might of Toyota and BMW-Mini aboard the special vehicle class buggy.
The Corvette-powered Century machine was entirely conceived, developed and built by former Dakar racer and SA cross country champion Mark Corbett in Johannesburg.
Serradori topped an unusual podium ahead of Alonso of Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, Argentine Orlando Terranova in a Mini and SA star Giniel de Villiers in another Toyota Gazoo Racing SA as the overall leaders struggled to find the road without motorcycle tracks on a day that saw the bike and quad races cancelled in memory of Dakar legend Paulo Goncalves, who tragically passed away after a fall on Sunday. Overall leader Carlos Sainz in a Mini lost significant time early on, although he clawed back some of the deficit to now lead Nasser Al Attiyah’s of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA and Stephane Peterhansel in another Mini in the general standings.
Serradori soon overcame his 14th place starting position after losing time stuck in the sand on Sunday to move ahead of local hero Yazeed Al Rajhi (Hilux) midway through the day’s race, with Sainz, Al Attiyah and Peterhansel languished in 27th, 16th and eighth respectively. Behind Serradori and Al Rajhi, another Saudi, Yasir Seaidan and Terranova’s Minis and De Villiers, Dutch driver Bernhard Ten Brinke and Alonso’s trio of Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hiluxes traded places through the morning.Dakar rookie Alonso however put in a significant effort to leapfrog the lot and come home second behind the ecstatic Serradori, with Terranova third from De Villiers.