After being "caught cold" and conceding two early goals, SV Werder Bremen's Mikaël Silvestre praised his side's mental strength to fight back for a point against Tottenham Hotspur FC.
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Mikaël Silvestre conceded SV Werder Bremen had been "caught cold" by Tottenham Hotspur FC in Tuesday's Group A opener, but told UEFA.com he was proud of his team's sterling comeback to earn a point.
Silvestre's first UEFA Champions League match in the colours of his new side could hardly have started more badly with the visitors scoring twice in the opening 18 minutes to leave the Bundesliga club reeling at the Weserstadion. However, Bremen produced a stirring revival to ensure they escaped defeat on their return to the competition.
"We were caught cold," said Silvestre, who moved to Germany after leaving Arsenal FC this summer. "It was tough for us to get out of the starting blocks. We reorganised and changed the tactics round. That allowed us to have more of a physical presence in the match, and also put more pressure on the Tottenham defence, which had been largely untroubled throughout the first half. It's a shame to drop two points at home, but we've shown a lot of character, and that's positive."
The mental strength of Thomas Schaaf's squad shone through after Peter Crouch's well-placed header had doubled the visitors' advantage following Petri Pasanen's 12th-minute own goal. Schaaf played his own part in the comeback, replacing Philipp Bargfrede with Aaron Hunt before the interval to give his lineup a sharper attacking edge – a move that kick-started a side which had idled through most of the opening half.
"Given the way the match went, we've got to be happy that we got back into it and picked up a point," conceded Silvestre, who highlighted the importance of Hugo Almeida reducing the deficit two minutes before the interval. "It's always important to get one back like that as it sows doubt in the heads of your opponents, and it also gave us a little boost. The coach remotivated everyone at half-time, and that made the difference."
The crowd had barely settled after the restart when Marko Marin fired home a superb equaliser to earn Bremen a share of the points. Despite having played alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Zinédine Zidane, Silvestre has still been impressed by the up-and-coming German international.
"He makes sparks fly. He's a player that is producing a lot for us at the moment," said the 33-year-old former Manchester United FC defender. "He launches counterattacks, he's unpredictable, and that makes him difficult to stop. He's still got some progress to make, and he'll become more mature, but I'm happy to be able to play alongside him."