Modric: We must respect Blues

Published Dec. 11, 2010 2:43 p.m. EST

Luka Modric has warned his Tottenham team-mates overconfidence could prove fatal in Sunday's London derby against misfiring Chelsea.

That has seen them surrender top spot in the league, while defeat on Sunday would move fifth-placed Tottenham to within a point of their city rivals.

But Modric insists expecting anything other than a Blues backlash could scupper Spurs' chances of completing a hat-trick of home wins against them.

"Okay, sure, they have some problems at the moment but that means nothing," the midfielder said in the club's official matchday programme.


"If we think we will beat them or we are favourites then it's the wrong attitude.

"We need to give them massive respect but, at the same time, we believe in our strength and quality and we are all determined to beat them at home for the third time in row.

"We know they are a dangerous side full of great players, unbelievable players.

"When we get out on the pitch we need to play our game, to fight for every ball, to play with confidence and try to beat them again.

"We are in good form and we fear no-one at home."

Modric is set to return to the side after missing Tuesday night's Champions League draw at FC Twente with flu.

After a slow start to the season, the 25-year-old Croatia star has been scintillating in recent weeks and was inspirational in Spurs' last two home wins against Werder Bremen and Liverpool.

The summer arrival of Rafael van der Vaart has seen Modric playing in a slightly deeper role and he appears to be thriving on the responsibility of making things happen in the middle of the park.

Asked if there was a better midfielder in the country on current form, first-team coach Joe Jordan said: "No, no, there's not.

"I think he's been getting more on the ball.

"He's a brave player, brave in a context where he will take the ball from anybody, anywhere, and he's confident within his ability.

"If a man is trying to close him down, Luka Modric will take the ball all day long and very rarely lose it and, more often than not, create something."

Modric is one of several players Harry Redknapp has got the very best out of since arriving at the club just over two years ago.

The current squad at White Hart Lane contains many of those Redknapp inherited from predecessor Juande Ramos, who was sacked after Spurs made their worst ever start to a season.

Other players have been shipped out and some have even gone on to thrive at their new clubs, yet Tottenham have also continued to go from strength to strength under Redknapp.

Jordan said: "He's a good judge of a player and that is a talent.

"He wants to bring in his players, who he thinks can improve the team, can contribute to where we want to go.

"And there are one or two players who have left here and done quite well, done very well.

"But it's not to the detriment of the way the team has gone.

One area where more improvement is needed is at the back, with Spurs having kept only three clean sheets this season.

"Maybe we'll have to work at that a little bit more," admitted Jordan, who nevertheless ruled out rushing key defender Michael Dawson back into the fray following his recovery from three months out with knee and ankle ligament damage.

"Michael would've been ready to play a month ago if you'd have asked him," Jordan said.

"Sometimes you've just got to try to temper it down a little bit.

"Michael, his enthusiasm just runs away with him.

"It's like Michael's coming in having done a pre-season, and now he needs games.

"Michael's injury is in the past now but we want to make sure there's no secondary injuries."