Keys battles for Tottenham Hotspur at AC Milan in the Champions League

(Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
(Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /
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Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur
(Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images) /

Key Battle 2 is a mental one for Tottenham

The second key to Tottenham’s success on Tuesday will come from mental fortitude. Milan is likely to dominate possession, and as Antonio Conte likes to say, Spurs will have to suffer defensively. Staying compact, behind the ball, and goalside of attackers – Eric Dier, I’m looking at you – is going to be critical.

Milan likes to play through balls and get behind the defense. If Spurs can stay compact and eliminate the lanes, that space behind will be negated, and the Rossoneri will get frustrated.

That mental battle is not just about defense but extends to the Tottenham attack.

Spurs will have opportunities to counter, and they should be ready for and willing to accept the tackles that will come with it. Milan is a hard-tackling team that does much of its defending from the front foot.

Tottenham’s attacking line cannot get frustrated and start focusing on the calls they are or, more than likely, are not getting against an aggressive defense. If Spurs can ride the tough challenges and be patient with the referee, opportunities to get behind AC Milan’s defense and earn some dangerous free-kicks will be there, but they have to be patient.