Monday, June 18, 2018

Tottenham v Anderlecht: Dembele eyes goalscoring run

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 3 Nov 2015


Mousa Dembele is determined to maintain his goalscoring form for Tottenham as they look to take a step towards the Europa League knockout rounds against Anderlecht on Thursday.

The Belgium midfielder followed a goal against AFC Bournemouth with the opener in Spurs’ 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Monday.

That victory extended their unbeaten league run to 10 matches, but their Europa League league form leaves much to be desired, with a 2-1 loss to Anderlecht on matchday three leaving them third in Group J.

And Dembele is eager to transfer his domestic form to the continental stage to help Spurs’ bid to qualify for the last 32.

“I’m happy with my form, but I think I can improve much more,” he told the club’s official website. “I hadn’t played for a long time until a couple of weeks ago – a month and a half – but I feel like I’ve started to get fitter.

“In pre-season I felt really fit with the games I was playing and now I’m feeling that again and I’m happy with the goals as well.

“For me it’s something that has been my aim for a long time – to score more goals – and of course I’m happy with the two in the last two games, but I want to continue. I don’t want to stop here, I want to keep scoring and be important for the team.”

Anderlecht came from behind to defeat Mauricio Pochettino’s side last time out to move into second in the group, level with Spurs on four points.

Midfielder Andy Najar missed that game, but is fired up for the clash at White Hart Lane and confident they can get the result if they maintain the standards they hit in the second half of the win over Mouscron-Peruwelz on Sunday.

“We didn’t play with our mentality in the first half. When we play with that, nobody can beat us,” the 22-year-old said.

“I wasn’t happy because I missed the match at home. Now I’m happy, I’m fit.”

Forward Frank Acheampong added: “I’m preparing myself to do my best and take the three points. 

“We’re supported everywhere we go, so I think we’ll get a good result against Tottenham.”

Anderlecht were dealt a blow on Monday with the news that defender Ivan Obradovic will miss six months with a knee ligament tear, while rising midfield star Dennis Praet is also sidelined with a gluteal muscle injury.

Spurs hope to have Son Heung-min (foot) and Nabil Bentaleb (ankle) back this week, but neither are likely to be risked, with a game against London rivals Arsenal looming on Sunday.

Pochettino’s side boast a strong European record at home, having gone unbeaten in their last six games, but they have yet to defeat Anderlecht across 90 minutes in five attempts.

Besnik Hasi’s side, however, have failed to win any of their 14 away games against English opposition and are without a victory on the road in Europe since their 6-0 thrashing of Ekranas in a Champions League qualifier in August 2012.


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