Korsten backs Spurs to beat Twente again
HAVING already secured their place in the Champions League knockout stages, Tottenham head to the Netherlands tonight with one mission - sealing top spot in Group A.
Former Dutch winger William Korsten made 23 appearances for Spurs between 1999 and 2001 and his playing career ended at White Hart Lane on the final day of the 2000-01 campaign.
He went out with a bang with two goals in a 3-1 win over Manchester United before succumbing to injury and hanging up his boots at the age of 26.
Nine years on, the 35-year-old is coaching in Holland with NEC Nijmegen, who lost 4-2 to Twente at home on Saturday – making him the perfect man to run the rule over the Dutch champions as they bid to avenge their 4-1 defeat at White Hart Lane in September.
“In the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafa van der Vaart, Spurs have match winners all over the pitch. I expect Tottenham to win, maybe 3-1,” he says. “Much like FC Twente’s rise in Holland, Spurs’ ascent to the top has been on the cards for a number of years as they have been signing good players and playing great football.
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“It was a massive achievement for FC Twente to break up the traditional ‘Big Three’ in Holland of PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord – although Feyenoord have not put together a title charge for many years now.
“It’s no surprise that FC Twente have done so well though. They have been very solid and building up to a title challenge continuously prior to finally securing the championship back in May.”
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Korsten believes the absence of the injured Bryan Ruiz, Twente’s Costa Rican striker, will reduce the home team’s threat on the night, but he has identified two midfielders Spurs should watch at the De Grolsch Veste Stadium.
“Theo Janssen is a left-footed player in Twente’s midfield who has caught my eye on a number of occasions. He is responsible for all the team’s set pieces and is Twente’s key creator,” he says.
“Nacer Chadli is another player to watch out for. He’s a left-sided midfielder who is right-footed and often cuts in off the wing and tries long shots.
“The new manager Michel Preud’homme had great success at Standard Liege and Gent, winning a trophy at both clubs, and he has carried on the good work of Steve McClaren, who has gone to Wolfsburg of course.
“But assistant coach Alfred Schreuder’s role in Twente’s recent success must not be underestimated either. He was a key figure in helping McClaren settle in Holland and all the contacts I have at Twente speak volumes for his influence at the club. Some people say his role is even more important than the manager.”