Six Champions League matches ago, Tammy Abraham was just happy to be playing in Europe for the first time in his young career, especially surrounded by some of his best friends from the Academy.
Having successfully navigated the (fairly tough) group stage, he’s now setting his sights on even bigger stages. We certainly can’t fault him for his ambition!
“No fear. It’s exciting, very exciting. For us, we’re never ones to back down from a challenge. We want to play against the best teams in the world and also play in the best stadiums in the world, so it is exciting times.”
“[I am] ready for anyone. I would love it if it we end up playing at the Nou Camp or somewhere I’ve never played before.”
Barcelona are just one of four European juggernauts (plus RB Leipzig) whom we could potentially face in the Round of 16 (the draw will be held on Monday), but whether it’s the Nou Camp, the Allianz Arena, the Allianz Stadium, or the
Allianz Park Parc des Princes, Tammy’s got the confidence to take them down. We already eliminated one of the four semifinalists from a year ago after all!
“It has been a fantastic journey, an exciting journey. You never know what the future holds. It is about going out there in every game and just believing in ourselves.
“When we saw the draw [for the group stages], we knew it was going to be hard, we left it to the last game to go through but it is exciting times going forward. Playing in the last 16 is a dream come true.”
That said, we should be careful what we wish for. Abraham may be pouring in the goals, but he’s yet to find the back of the net against a team in the current top five (0-for-6 in all competitions) and his two Champions League goals were both scored against Lille, one in each game. Whoever we draw for the first knockout round will be at that next level. Abraham and the rest of the team will have to step up their levels.
Fortunately, Tammy also recognizes this, so hopefully in the next two months, we can indeed make those improvements.
“It was [encouraging] but for us it is just fixing small errors. The best teams in the world finish off those games in the first half.
“For us it is about just killing the game, knowing when to win fouls, slow the game down as much as possible and then creating more chances. Once we fix the little mistakes in our game, we’ll be a world-class team.”
-Tammy Abraham; source: Evening Standard
So we hope!