Spurs' tough schedule will help their Champions League bid, says Friedel
21:45 GMT, 31 March 2013
00:57 GMT, 1 April 2013
Brad Friedel believes Tottenham’s tough April schedule will benefit their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Spurs moved into third place with their 2-1 win at Swansea on Saturday but must play Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City in the next three weeks, as well as a two-leg Europa League quarter-final against FC Basel.
Friedel, though, believes his side rise to the occasion against teams in the top half of the table. Home draws against the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Norwich and Stoke, as well as defeats by Wigan and Fulham, have, after all, stunted Tottenham’s progress this season.
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Tough schedule: Brad Friedel believes Tottenham's players will rise to the challenge in the run in
The goalkeeper said: ‘We have some tough Premier League games coming up and I think that is much better for us. The bigger the game, the more the players will step up to the plate.
‘It might be nervy for the people who think about it and watch it but in-house we know what we want to do. There are no nerves hanging around the training ground.’
On fire: Gareth Bale (right) scores with a stunning strike against Swansea
This was a vital win for Andre Villas-Boas’ side although it took a last-minute tackle from Gareth Bale to prevent Nathan Dyer scoring an equaliser after Michu led a spirited Swansea fight-back in the second half. A loss — or even a draw after establishing a 2-0 lead with two stunning goals from Jan Vertonghen and Bale inside 21 minutes — and Friedel admitted Tottenham’s Champions League hopes could have been over.
The goalkeeper, 41, started his first Premier League game since November to allow Hugo Lloris to protect a slight knee injury he sustained on international duty with France. Friedel will play again against Basel on Thursday, but Lloris is expected to resume training on Monday.
Friedel said: ‘If we had given away a two-goal lead, psychologically it would have hurt. There would have been no denying that. It was very important that we won today (Saturday).
Vital: The win over Swansea was an important three points for Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas
‘It was a massive three points. The week we had before the international break where we had the three losses (against Liverpool, Inter Milan and Fulham) meant this was a huge, huge win for us. To top it off Chelsea lost which makes it an even better weekend.’
Bale added: ‘It was important for us to get a win because it was important to stop the rot and try and kick on and make our season as good as possible. It was a great result for us today so hopefully we can keep this run going now. We’re still in the running for our objectives and hopefully we can fulfil them.’
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