Christian Eriksen is desperate to have the last laugh in his friendly feud with Kasper Schmeichel as Tottenham’s title rivalry with Leicester gets serious.
Spurs trail Leicester by eight points in the Premier League heading into their match at Stoke tonight, with the Foxes rescuing a point at home to West Ham yesterday.
Eriksen has been trying to stoke the fire over the last few weeks by sending texts to his Danish team-mate Schmeichel and last month he joked it might not be a bad thing if the goalkeeper returned from international duty with a niggle or two.
Leicester still have games against Swansea, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea to come, and Eriksen admits he recently took the chance to tease Schmeichel again when he messaged him about booking a restaurant.
Who will send the last laugh message?
“I hope it’s me,” Eriksen said.
“I just texted him the other day. I needed him to help me with a table in London, funnily enough. I said ‘good luck winning...or not’ and he said the same back.
“It’s probably funnier to text each other now because of where we are in the league but it’s just normal guy banter.”
Schmeichel and his team-mates insist they are just enjoying the moment and not even thinking about being crowned champions in May. Eriksen, however, is sceptical.
“I think they are. Of course they are,” Eriksen said.
“When you are that close and you are coming from the position that they are in, of course they will be looking at the title. That is normal. Talking to the press, you say things a little differently.”
Tottenham have a mountain to climb but their run-in appears slightly kinder, with games against West Brom, Chelsea, Southampton and Newcastle to follow the trip to the Britannia Stadium.
Three players in the team — Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Eriksen — also have experience of winning the title from behind after the trio helped Ajax overcome a 12-point deficit on FC Twente in 2011, pipping their rivals to the post on the final day of the season.
“I think we were second until the last day of the season when we played Twente, who were first and one point ahead,” Eriksen said.
“If you won the game you were champions. For us, the whole season we were trailing and I think at some points we were 12 points behind. But we came closer and closer, and then we got it.
“I was really young back then — I’m still not that old — but for me it was a really good experience and you could see what it meant for the club. It’s a little bit the same here.”
Stoke striker Peter Crouch would love to see his former club Tottenham win the Premier League — but is ready to put a major dent in their title bid tonight.
Crouch was at Tottenham for two seasons before joining Stoke in 2011 and
told #pottersmag: “I would love to see Tottenham win the Premier League. “It’s a great club that has probably underachieved in recent seasons and I think for them go on and win it would be incredible.
“Obviously it would be incredible if Leicester were to do it too for so many reasons, but for me, having spent a good period of my career at White Hart Lane, I would like Spurs to nick it.
“First and foremost though we have to try and get the three points to get ourselves back on track following our defeat at Liverpool.
“If in turn that compromises Tottenham’s challenge for the title then so be it — my main priority right now is to help Stoke end the season well.”
Ninth-placed Stoke are hopeful of having midfielder Glenn Whelan (back) and forward Marko Arnautovic (knee) back available for Monday’s contest, but defender Marc Muniesa is a doubt.
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