Dimitar Berbatov Exclusive: Eriksen to step up at the Emirates despite doubts over future

Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen can step up in the north London derby, says Dimitar

Dimitar Berbatov delivers his verdict on the Champions League draw and looks ahead to the first north London derby of the season...

"I've said it before but it's down to concentration and consistency, that is the key for Spurs. Last week it was the same old story."

Spurs can't overthink derby clash

Arsenal v Spurs is big game and a fierce derby but for me it is just another game. If you pay too much attention to it and overthink it then you are not going to perform well, you will over complicate things and it isn't going to work out.

Of course, as a player you think about these games but you can't but too much pressure on yourself with thoughts about the match.

Both teams have amazing players, way better than when I used to play in these games. It's going to be entertaining but both teams are coming from defeats so it is going to be interesting to see who is going to step up.

I've said it before but it's down to concentration and consistency, that is the key for Spurs. Last week it was the same old story, going 1-0 down but when you have a team that can defend against you, even if you chase the game and have good players it becomes difficult to overturn that score.

I am not saying something that no one else knows, and I am sure Mauricio Pochettino knows the weaknesses of the team but it is strange to me how three games in a row they have let the opposition score first.

I remember at Manchester United, one of Sir Alex Ferguson's final and last words before we went out for each game was 'concentration' and he was happy most of the time, not just when we beat a team 5-0 or 6-0 but when we beat them 1-0 because it meant our concentration level in that game was very high. A 1-0 brings you the same points as a 5-0.

Eriksen can perform despite doubts over future

It is sad that Tanguy Ndombele is still injured and he is set to miss the match but in Christian Eriksen they have a player that can fill his place. If he is in the right state of mind, without asking questions about his future and if he concentrates, with his vision and passing he can, as always, help the team to victory.

If you believe the rumours this could be Eriksen's last match for Spurs so it will be interesting for me to see what happens against Arsenal; if he starts, how he reacts in the game, the way he plays in the game. You can easily see if someone is in the game or not.

Arsenal made it easy for me

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I loved playing against Arsenal. You have some teams where you can bully their defenders and I always enjoyed playing them because they were a football team, they tried to play football and they did.

Most of the time they were too soft. I loved a tussle, someone on the back of my neck just to try and test me, I used to test myself to see where I stand but most of the time they were not going for it, they left me space so I could turn around and pass the ball and for me it was easy to find my way into the game.

When I played for Monaco and scored at the Emirates in the Champions League (pictured) they underestimated us, maybe they thought they could destroy us and beat us easily but when Anthony Martial was running at the goal and I was screaming 'give me the ball' it was easy to score. That victory and that goal came from Arsenal underestimating their opponent.

No excuses for Spurs in the Champions League

Following the group stage draw (Spurs have Bayern Munich, Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade) my first thought was that they can not have any excuses. But sometimes if you underestimate teams you get a surprise. Last year they had a strong group but then they got what they needed and went to the final, this year there are no excuses and you'd like to think that they can go through.

Last year can help them and hurt them, when you qualify for the final it doesn't mean that you are going to do it again. They could go out in the group if they aren't fully concentrated. They need to fight for it, reaching the later stages isn't a given, so if they aren't strong enough they will be out.

Guardiola has a great chance to silence critics

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Manchester City will be there, of course they will - they are one of the best teams in the world. Pep Guardiola hasn't reached where he wants to and I know this is their priority, They win the Premier League and it is nothing new to them, but winning the Champions League it is really the big prize they are after.

This is the only thing that some of Pep's critics can hurt him with, he's been there for three years and he hasn't reached the final of the Champions League, he didn't win it at Bayern Munich either. The pressure is going to be there, they know they need to perform well, the fans are expecting it and that puts a lot more pressure on you. It is going to be interesting to see how they react to it.

Europa League should be a priority for United

When you say 'United' and 'the Europa League' for me that is disappointing, I mean what the f*ck?! Times have changed. I hope as soon as possible they will be back where they belong, in the Champions League.

I know why some fans are getting angry, I'm sure the players are angry as well. As a player you want to be playing with and against the best, to test yourself. But this is where United are.

As a new manager, a young one, of course Ole would like a trophy it doesn't matter which one, it will be good for confidence and good for the team.


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