26 Feb Gary Mabbutt backing Tottenham to win FA Cup
Winning the FA Cup this season would give Tottenham the “extra belief” of what Mauricio Pochettino’s squad can go on to achieve, according to former captain Gary Mabbutt.
Spurs host League One strugglers Rochdale in a fifth-round replay at Wembley on Wednesday night, with the winners set to travel to Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea for a place in the semi-finals.
Pochettino’s side could not get the job first time at Spotland, where a stoppage-time goal from Steve Davies earned Keith Hill’s men a lucrative trip to the national stadium.
Mabbutt, though, believes the current Spurs squad, which sits fourth in the Premier League following Sunday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, are capable of going all the way to lift the trophy on May 19.
“I feel this season we have got a real opportunity of winning the FA Cup,” said Mabbutt, who is an ambassador for the Willow Foundation and will be attending the London Football Awards on March 1.
“If we can get through against Rochdale and then the quarters, the next two matches would be at our ‘home’ ground, which is something you have to take into consideration.
“Our games at Wembley against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid shows that we can put in performances to get us through.
“Then the comeback against Juventus (in the Champions League) shows that this side is really coming together and the character is there, with a great rapport between the players and manager.”
Mabbutt told Press Association Sport: “With the group of players we have at Tottenham now, we need to win something, just to give them the extra belief as to what can be achieved.
“The squad has been together for two or three years, getting stronger, but now we need to show that we can win things.
“We have got a great chance in the FA Cup this year and our performances in the Champions League have sent out a very strong message to the footballing world that Tottenham Hotspur are a force to be reckoned with in whatever competition they are playing.”
Defender Mabbutt made more than 600 appearances for Tottenham over 16 years, during which he won both the 1984 UEFA Cup and lifted the FA Cup at Wembley in 1991.
The 56-year-old believes if Spurs can deliver silverware as they prepare to move back into a new 61,559-capacity ground built to replace White Hart Lane, it would all help to secure the long-term future of manager Pochettino as well as the likes of England striker Harry Kane.
He said: “If you have a team which is performing in the Champions League and putting in a sustained challenge at the top of the Premier League, then why would you want to leave?”
Spurs have a number of nominations for the 2018 London Football Awards.
Kane joins midfielders Christian Eriksen and Heung-Min Son on the five-man shortlist for Premier League Player of the Year.
Manager Pochettino is also among the nominations, along with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris while Harry Winks and Davison Sanchez are both contenders for the Young Player of the Year accolade.
Mabbutt said: “It is a reflection of the way the season is going that Spurs have got so many nominations.”
– The London Football Awards helps raise funds for Willow, the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable ‘Special Days’. For more information visit www.londonfootballawards.org