Tottenham vs FC Twente Preview
Harry Redknapp backed the misfiring Aaron Lennon to shake off his slump ahead of Tottenham's clash with FC Twente.
England winger Lennon has failed to hit the heights since returning from almost four months out with a groin injury back in April, enduring a miserable World Cup and a poor start to the current season.
The 23-year-old has found himself substituted in most of his club's games this term, while he has also been frozen out by national team boss Fabio Capello.
Spurs manager Redknapp must decide whether to start Lennon in tomorrow night's Group A clash or play the in-form Rafael van der Vaart out wide.
But regardless of his team selection against the Dutch champions, Redknapp is certain Lennon will eventually come good.
"He's had the injury and he had a quiet World Cup, really," Redknapp said.
"I think he's getting over the injury from last season. But he's a matchwinner on his day and it's very hard to be consistent when you play out in that wide position, when you've got to beat people every week and people expect you to get the ball and go whizzing past full-backs, cross balls.
"Full-backs now are as quick as wingers, they get tight, they stop you getting the ball.
"You've got to work very hard to get on the ball now when you play in that wide position.
"It's not always easy but he'll come good."
Despite his concerns over Lennon, Redknapp's real worry tomorrow night lies at the back, where he has just one fully fit recognised centre-half in Sebastien Bassong.
He may risk captain Ledley King, but if not, Vedran Corluka will continue in the heart of defence.
Redknapp believes his current injury worries have not helped his side as they have struggled to balance their Champions League and Barclays Premier League commitments.
"The biggest problem you have is probably getting the players up for the Premier League games after the Champions League," said Redknapp, whose side have won just two of their six league matches this term.
"You have to juggle around your team, I've found and when you keep changing your team, it makes it difficult to get continuity.
"We've had to do that an awful lot - change the team - probably through injury more than anything, especially in the back."
And FC Twente boss Michel Preud'homme is intent on exposing Tottenham's "pain points" at White Hart Lane.
"You find pain points, pain points for the other team, points where you can hurt them," said the former Belgium goalkeeper, who succeeded Steve McClaren as Twente manager this summer.
"That's how we approach every game."
Preud'homme urged the Dutch champions to "be smart" in their approach to tomorrow's match, adding: "It's about putting pressure on and avoiding pressure at the right moments.
"Obviously, Tottenham are at home, so they will try to apply pressure.
"Playing smart will certainly mean that you have to try to avoid this pressure."
That will not mean being defensive, according to the man who masterminded a 2-2 draw with European champions Inter Milan in Twente's opening group game.
"It's in our nature to play football, not to kill the game," said Preud'homme, who was expecting a partisan but fair atmosphere on and off the field tomorrow.
"Intimidation is a big word; it sounds quite negative," he said.
"I choose to use words like home advantage or motivation.
"They'll obviously use that same weapon as we do; we also use the support of our fans.
"But we have players with a lot of international experience. They should be used to this kind of atmosphere."
He added: "The Champions League is made in a way that intimidation has to stay in the rules.
"Tottenham is a football-playing team, not a kicking team."
Twente, who won the Eredivisie for the first time in their history under McClaren last season, are set to be without injured left-backs Bart Buysse (ankle) and Dwight Tiendalli (leg).