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Tom Huddlestone is determined to use the UEFA Champions League to showcase his growing maturity as Tottenham Hotspur FC prepare for their home bow in Europe's elite club competition against FC Twente.
The learning curve in the group stage is steep but the 23-year-old insists Harry Redknapp's charges can take another step forwards after earning a creditable 2-2 draw at SV Werder Bremen in their Group A opener. But having been two up inside 18 minutes in Germany, Huddlestone wants Spurs to be merciless on Wednesday.
"Their first goal just before half-time in Bremen was a killer," he said, referring to Hugo Almeida's 43rd-minute reply which was added to by Marko Marin (47). "Had we gone in at 2-0 then the second half could have been comfortable. Being only a goal behind, they started the second half on fire. We've got to be more ruthless. Twente and Inter drew their first game so we have a chance to take the initiative and go top of the group. Before the competition we were looking to win our three home games as that means it is more than likely you'll qualify."
The English international is certainly capable of leading by example, having come off the bench to spearhead a two-goal response when Spurs trailed 3-0 at BSC Young Boys in their play-off first leg. "I played a lot of games last season and felt I had a good year," added the midfielder. "The manager has stuck with me this year so hopefully that will continue.
We are a fairly quiet team but I'm getting older and playing more games so the confidence comes with that. We need leaders."
Huddlestone is an avowed admirer of Dutch football and expects both teams to produce a flowing, entertaining contest. "Twente are similar to a lot of Dutch teams in the formation they play," he said. "The Dutch mentality is to keep the ball moving and on the ground – the right way to play football. It will be a difficult game but every team has their weaknesses so if we put our strengths forward we can win.
"We will approach the game as we always do, especially at home. We know the way we like to play – attacking, getting the ball wide and causing problems. I've played in a few European games at the Lane and the atmosphere is always special – it seems to be an extra 15 or 20% for the night games.
We don't need to be fearful of anyone. We just need to enjoy our football as that's when we are at our best."
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