Buoyed by their derby victory at Arsenal FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC welcome SV Werder Bremen with confidence high, though midfielder Jermaine Jenas anticipates another "tough game".
Article top media content
Jermaine Jenas insists the reputation Tottenham Hotspur FC have been forging as comeback kings is an indication of their blossoming belief as the Group A leaders welcome SV Werder Bremen to White Hart Lane looking to seal a place in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League.
Spurs have triumphed four times in the Premier League after falling behind and raised eyebrows in Europe by scoring three times with ten men at holders FC Internazionale Milano after trailing 4-0. Their latest recovery on Saturday was equally impressive as they transformed a 2-0 half-time deficit into a 3-2 success at north London rivals Arsenal FC.
"There's been a few games like the Inter away game where we took a lot from the performance," said Jenas, who has played in all four group matches. "We took experience and confidence from beating the European champions [3-1 on Matchday 4] and it will be the same from Saturday. Coming back at Arsenal is not an easy thing to do – especially at 2-0 down.
"Inter [away] was the catalyst," the England international added. "We didn't perform in the first half and going down to ten men people wrote us off completely. But in the second half we gave ourselves a mental victory. The way we performed and had Inter on the ropes in the last five minutes with ten men at San Siro – not many teams can do that. We looked at that and said we could do anything if we're all at it."
Harry Redknapp's side, who could be without key figures Gareth Bale (shoulder) and Rafael van der Vaart (ankle), will confirm their progress to the last 16 with victory against Bremen. But if Tottenham are to step up to the next level they will have to blend their attacking prowess and spirited responses with defensive resilience. Without a clean sheet in 17 matches, Jenas realises there is scope for improvement.
"It's something we're trying to work on and we need to rectify it soon," said the 27-year-old. "It's great to score goals and win games 3-2 but there comes a point where you need to win 1-0. The top teams do that and it's an area we need to improve on if we're to achieve anything special this year. A victory with a clean sheet would be something we'd take more pride in right now."
Bremen have conceded ten goals without reply in their last two Bundesliga away games, are yet to win in Group A and have not scored in four matches, but Jenas insists Tottenham are "expecting a tough game". He added: "I remember our first meeting. We went 2-0 up and dictated the game but they came out second half with a completely different mindset and made life very difficult. In the end, we were happy with a draw."