Erik­sen will play for Spurs against Mid­dles­brough

Pretoria News - - SPORT - | | mo­tor­sport­media

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.

Chris­tian Erik­sen

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