Kevin Campbell has warned Tottenham that things will be difficult for them in this evening’s Carabao Cup quarter-final if they go behind against Stoke City, suggesting that the first goal of the game is likely to be key.
The two sides meet at the Bet365 Stadium today knowing that they’re one win away from a place in the semi-finals.
Stoke will no doubt be buoyed in confidence after seeing Championship rivals Brentford knock top-flight Newcastle United out of the competition yesterday and, speaking to Football Insider, Campbell has warned Spurs that their hosts this evening can make things difficult.
He said: “It’s a tough game for Stoke but Stoke have done really well in the Carabao Cup and it’s at the Bet365 stadium.
“We know what Spurs bring to the table, they defend deep and go on the counter-attack.
“Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are one of the form partnerships in Europe so they’ve got to be vigilant.
“Stoke’s defence have been pretty good actually, they’ve defended very well of late.
“The issue with Stoke is the firepower – can they get ahead? If they can get ahead it could be a difficult day for Tottenham. The key is getting ahead.”
Jose Mourinho’s men head into the game having taken just one point from their last three games and suffered defeat in their last two.
Stoke, on the other hand, claimed an important win against Blackburn Rovers on the weekend and have a sterling recent defensive record – having kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven games.
They’ll be facing the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son tonight, however, and are without their most dangerous attacker as top scorer Tyrese Campbell is set to miss the rest of the season due to injury.
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There’s no doubt that Spurs head into this game as favourites but last night’s showing in west London highlighted the difficulties that Championship sides can cause top-flight teams and Mourinho will want to avoid a similar slip-up.
Tottenham have been poor recently and more pressure will be piled on his players should they be knocked out by the Potters.
Mourinho’s men have struggled for attacking fluency at times and that could play into Stoke’s hands, with Michael O’Neill’s side having been resolute defensively recently.
As Campbell indicates, going behind could make it a very frustrating game for Spurs.