Rafael van der Vaart is determined to use his vast UEFA Champions League experience to help Tottenham Hotspur earn their first win in Group A tomorrow. The Netherlands playmaker is expected to line up against his compatriots Twente at White Hart Lane, with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp looking to attack as he has injury problems in defence.
"I have a lot of experience in the Champions League," Van der Vaart said. "I have played with Ajax in the Champions League, and Hamburg and Madrid. I hope I can help the team and I'm sure I can."
The 27-year-old has made a positive impact in his four appearances since signing from Real Madrid just before the transfer window closed. "He will do well for us," said Redknapp.
"I have been really impressed with him. He is a good lad, he wants to play, he wants to win, and has got a good attitude. He's got 80 caps for his country and you don't get them if you are a mug, do you?"
Van der Vaart is similar in style to team-mate Luka Modric, but feels the two can play in the same team. "He is a great player," the former said of the Croatian. "I always like to play with good footballers. He plays a little bit in the Dutch way, with good technique, he is fast and I think it is going to fit well."
Adventure the key to home glory
Van der Vaart and Modric have seen their roles increase in importance as Tottenham's Aaron Lennon has suffered a slump in form that has seen him lose his place in the England squad.
"I think it's about confidence," Redknapp opined. "You've got to keep working with him because, when he's on his game, he's a top-class wide player. We need to get him back to doing that again."
Lennon's pace could be important against Twente as Redknapp looks to solve his defensive problems by attacking. Younes Kaboul, William Gallas, Michael Dawson and Jonathan Woodgate are all out, and Ledley King is struggling.
Both Tottenham and Twente drew their opening group game 2-2. The London outfit threw away a two-goal lead away to Werder Bremen, while the Enschede team managed a creditable point at home to reigning champions Inter Milan.
"We have to go for it," Redknapp said. "Getting a win is all important. If we get a win it sets us up nearly nicely. The group is wide open, [with all the sides] on one point each at the moment.
"Inter Milan are obviously the favourites but after that it is wide open. Twente have some good players, we have looked at a couple of their games on video and they have one or two really good players.
"But at home, the crowd are up for it. It will be an intimidating atmosphere like against Young Boys (the Swiss side Spurs beat to reach the group stage proper) - we attacked them and got after them from the start.
"That is what we have to do in these European [home] games, especially in this group. In Milan you might set up differently. If you play some teams you would not be playing 4-4-2 or you would get ripped to pieces, but we are at home this week."
Jermain Defoe is out of action with an ankle injury, with Redknapp admitting his side are missing the England striker's movement in the penalty area. "We haven't really got that player at the moment," he said. "Someone sharp whose going to make little runs away from defenders for them to play people in. But I think the squad's strong."