Eriksen: We must do better
Christian Eriksen knows Tottenham need to raise their game if they are to secure a morale-boosting victory over Arsenal this weekend.
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23. Christian Eriksen
A tumultuous campaign appears to be coming to a head at White Hart Lane, with the pressure on manager Tim Sherwood and his players mounting after abject back-to-back defeats.
The Spurs boss publicly criticised his players after Saturday's embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea and then saw his side humbled 3-1 by Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
That defeat means Tottenham are likely to face another year without a trophy, and while Sherwood could not fault his players' desire after Thursday's match, midfielder Eriksen was angered by the performance.
"I think everybody agrees [it was a disappointing night]," said the Denmark international, whose fine free-kick had made it 2-1 in the second half.
"I think my goal gave us a boost but unfortunately only for a few minutes. Then they got the ball again and then we had to run even more.
"They played well and they played maybe how we should play, but we didn't.
"I think they were really good, did really good running. Way much more than we are used to.
"But we were just not good enough on the ball. When we got it, we couldn't keep it and they were really good on the ball."
The way Spurs were outclassed is hardly the ideal preparation for what looks set to be a season-defining north London derby on Sunday.
Defeat to Arsenal would ne a hammer blow to hopes of Sherwood's men sneaking into the top four, while Arsene Wenger's side would likely see their title hopes go up in smoke should they lose.
"I have only been here for a few months but I still know how a derby is and I have played in ones now," Eriksen told Spurs TV.
"Now it is as at home and I am looking forward to it. I think [a positive result] will give everything and everybody a big boost.
"Hopefully we will be way better on Sunday than what we were against Benfica."
Spurs travel to Lisbon for the second leg with Benfica after the derby, with the three away goals racked up by Jorge Jesus' side making them overwhelming favourites to progress - not that Eriksen and his team-mates have given up on making the quarter-finals.
"I think we have the players for it and hopefully the mentality as well," he added.
"Of course we are going to look to go through but of course we are going to be realistic that it is going to be very difficult."
Tottenham will certainly have to do better defensively in the second leg, having seen Luisao score a brace from set pieces.
The towering Benfica captain's efforts complemented Rodrigo's fine 29th-minute opener, in which he latched onto a fine through ball to lash past Hugo Lloris.
Benfica are now unbeaten in all competitions since November 9 and former Bolton forward Rodrigo believes they fully deserved the 22nd win of that incredible sequence.
"We could have scored more goals," Rodrigo said after the match. "We nullified the attacking play from Tottenham and it was a deserved victory
"It's a good result, but nothing is decided. Even if we had lost it would not have been decided.
"We have to focus on the Portuguese League, which is our priority, and then prepare the home game."