Hudd sees chance to set the pace

Both of the opening fixtures in the group earlier this month ended

in 2-2 draws, meaning Wednesday’s game is the perfect chance for

Spurs to take an outright lead over their rivals. On paper, a

meeting with the Dutch champions is the easiest of Tottenham’s six

Group A clashes and midfielder Huddlestone believes it is the ideal

opportunity to lay down a marker. The 23-year-old said: “Obviously,

Twente and Inter (Milan) drew their first game, so we’ve got a

chance to take the initiative and hopefully be top of the group.”

Failure to take all three points could leave Spurs facing an uphill

task to qualify but Huddlestone is wary of dubbing it a must-win

game. “It’s only the second out of six games, so I don’t think it’s

must-win at the minute,” he said. “But, before the tournament, you

looked to probably win your three home games and if you can nick a

couple of points away from home, then it’s more than likely that

you’ll qualify.” Huddlestone could captain Spurs if Ledley King

fails to recover from knee and groin injuries. And the midfielder

believes he is thriving with the extra responsibility of being one

of the side’s leaders. “The manager said recently we are a fairly

quiet team,” Huddlestone said. “Obviously, I’m getting older now

and playing more games. “I think the confidence comes with that and

becoming a leader.” It would be an historic occasion to wear the

armband, with Spurs hosting their first game in the European Cup

proper for almost half a century. Huddlestone said: “I’ve played a

few European games at the Lane and the atmosphere’s always special,

and it seems to be raised an extra 15-20% for night games. “As we

saw for the second leg of the Young Boys game, the atmosphere was

very good and it got us through.” Manager Harry Redknapp is also

enjoying the thrills and spills of Champions League football,

claiming it was on a different planet to the Europa League. “People

don’t take the Europa League the same as the Champions League, do

they?” he said. “Everyone wants to get in the Europa League; when

they get in, they want to get out of it. “Whereas the Champions

League is special.” Redknapp admitted Spurs’ Premier League form

had suffered as a result of the mental comedown his players had

experienced after Champions League games. He added: “A lot of it is

physical as well. “We go to Inter Milan on a Wednesday night, we

get back here Thursday, we play Everton 12pm on Saturday. “It’s not

easy, is it?” Twente forward Bryan Ruiz has urged his side to “be

smart”. He said: “How can we be smart? Just by keeping the ball,

don’t let them play, press them when we can, try to score the

chances we create. “Because in this kind of match sometimes there

are not many chances to score. “So we have to be good when we have

those chances.”