Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom stressed the danger of “real threat” Harry Kane side as they prepare for their FA Cup last 16 against Tottenham.
While the Blades executive welcomes a side that currently occupies an area, he has no illusions about the scale of the task they face. Champions League point premier League.
The Championship side disposed of National League Wrexham in the final round after going through a replay, but are now playing the underdog role as they face a visit from one of the ‘big six’ of the English top flight.
The United boss knows that Spurs all-time top scorer Kane needs little chance and has drawn comparisons to Gareth Bale’s hat-trick against the Blades in a 4-0 win a few seasons ago.
He said at a press conference: “The only way to guarantee this (to stop Kane) is don’t get him within 40 yards of your target.
“They score all kinds of goals, they’re a real threat to set play, and they’ve benefited a lot from that.
“We know it takes little chance and all we can do is limit those, but this is like when Gareth Bale had few memories but kept every one of them.
“We need a night where we’re at our best and not one or two young players on the Spurs can do their best, but we have to try to make it happen.”
Tottenham have entered the game in good form, winning four of their last five league games, and have so far been undefeated in the FA Cup with two wins over lower-division rivals Portsmouth and Preston.
However, Sheffield United are looking to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament for the third time in the last four seasons.
Heckingbottom immediately acknowledged the abundance of talent Antonio Conte’s team had in its ranks, despite emphasizing Kane’s danger.
He continued: “We have to look at their core threats and how they support Harry (Kane).
“It’s not just about sitting down and denying space, after all, if that’s our approach and we don’t do it, I’d be pretty bored on the sidelines.
“It’s a good game to be involved in because of the quality of the players we’re facing – we have a big hurdle ahead of us, the Spurs and their players and we know we have to do our best.”
Tottenham last lifted a trophy when they won the League Cup 15 years ago in 2008, and fans have a growing expectation that the club will taste silverware again.
Many major Premier League teams have already withdrawn from the competition, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, with Spurs becoming one of the favorites to lift the trophy.
Heckingbottom has been warned that Wednesday night’s opponents will give their all in this event, but want his side to “enjoy” the 90 minutes.
We know the league is different and different from the cup, so let’s go and enjoy it.
“What could be worse? Are we defeated?
“We want to get the ball from them and try and play and what have we got to lose? We have to try and win.”
Heckingbottom will make a last-minute decision on the starting eleven due to an illness spreading throughout the team.
Centre-back Ciaran Clark was not in the squad last time and may miss once again.